Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Future Of Our Country

What I’d really like to see from this business about McCain’s homes is more people talking about how it fits into all of our ideas, instead of just using it as an insult against McCain personally.


Why does a person need anything like 7 or 12 homes when other people are poor and live in crowded, miserable places?

Why is it that a person can own 7 or even 12 homes (McCain owns several house-shaped, house-sized structures on one of his seven properties– structures that families could be living in– therefore he or his wife actually own something like 12 homes) in this country? How does the system let them get and keep so much wealth they don’t need– even enough to leave fortunes to their kids?

Why do we allow people to own as many as 7 or 12 homes in this country?

We can even start looking forward to the future: since it’s so obvious that no one actually needs as many as 7 homes, and in the future of dwindling resources it’s going to become harder and harder for everyone to get by, we can start talking about changing the laws to do things like prevent people from owning as much extraneous property for their own use (for instance, making a law that specifically prohibits owning 7 or more homes, any of which you don't rent out or don't actually live in for more than one month out of each year).

It’s time for the common people to start talking about things like this and to start fighting for things like this. We can’t expect the rich people to do it. No rich person, when push comes to shove, really cares about any of you or their country. Why else would we have a rich class? When they have all that money and property and the security that comes from it, the security and comfort it provides to them is too attractive, and you can expect that no rich person over the age of 18 who knowingly owns 7 houses really cares what happens to any of us so long as they have their property and security. We just have to conclude from that that it has to be us who fights for the interest of the country and its people, and these people who have to have their excess taken from them.

Rich people may say that they care about other people, and may even donate to Obama and try to change things, but in the final analysis, it is all superficial because when the chips are down and the decisions really count, they wil side against you and side in favor of their money and security. That is why things don’t change in this country–- because the common people don’t realize this, and rich people aren’t motivated to change things for us. So it has to be the common people who pick up this work.

We have big corporations in this country that more or less monopolize huge industries, and they pay no taxes back into the system. Instead, the rich get more and more taxes removed from them: the individuals who work for these corporations at the highest levels of authority, and the people who stand to gain the most from the financial success of these corporations.

People like John McCain, Geoge Bush, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove and Donald Rumsfeld all come from this class.

Meanwhile we have poor people in this country who can't get enough to eat, don't get a decent education, or live in squalid, miserable conditions. When people who could grow up into happy, law-abiding citizens are so weakened by this evironment that they become criminals, we send them to abusive prisons where even today prisoner-on-prisoner or guard-on-prisoner rape is an epidemic, and we tell ourselves that it's all okay because we give them television, or because the government and the media lie to us and tell us all that the conditions of our country and the people who get locked up are much different than they actually are.

What we should be talking about is allowing the government to confiscate, or confiscate huge portions of, the largest industries. The government can oversee the management of these indutries, and we will still have a capitalist system, but instead of all the profit from the biggest businesses going into the piggy banks of a few people who were born into the upper-class, it would be used and distributed more equitably to make our world and our country better for us all to live in.

These are the people who have been ruining our environment so that people get skin cancer and all other kinds of cancers, and selling us cigarettes even though they knew they are poison. We have been letting them get away with it. We should not let these people do us the insult of waving their 12 houses in all of our faces and not start talking in a really serious way about fixing things.

Another thing I think the public's finding out McCain owns 10 or 11 or 12 houses is a good occasion for is noting that our society is living off the backs of de facto slave labor.

If you go and take a look on any consumer product in your home, you're almost bound to find the words "Made in China" or "Made in Malaysia" or "Made in [some other Third World country]" printed on it somewhere. These people get paid virtually subsistence wages-- and a total rip-off for a First World worker-- to work under absolutely horrible conditions, live in a hovel in East Asia, and die of treatable diseases. Their bosses treat them like rats and dominate their personal lives. Basic protections in America, like pregnancy leave, are forbidden in those places. Any time you read about an ancient civilization like the Romans and how they profited from their slaves, you might as well walk up to a mirror and take a good look in it, because you are the exact same thing. These industries keep the rich rich, and we regular people get all our stuff perhaps at a slightly cheaper price-- or maybe not (maybe the rich just tell us that's how it works out so that we won't complain so readily about the oppression of the factory workers). We take our bribe and we keep our mouths shut. If we ever complain or ask about it, we're told some absurd answer like that the Third World people deserve it or that it has to be this way. Or we're absurdly told that the workers in those factories are lucky because they have jobs and other people in those countries don't! Imagine that idea-- being lucky to work like a slave!

The people who most insist on these lies to us, or most insist on believing them, are a bunch of middle-aged Republican white guys who wear suits and work in air-conditioned offices for tens of thousands of dollars a year, and convince themselves that they're tough, working-class people while they check up on their stocks in The Wall Street Journal and on their Fantasy Baseball teams each day. Well the facts are, maybe if some more money could come into the countries (like through higher wages) where real working-class people are working to produce your T-shirts, appliances and furniture, it would spur more development, and all the people there who are unemployed now would be able to work at jobs like selling retail stuff to their countrymen.

It's time for real American working people to speak, think, vote and act in solidarity with working people all across the globe instead of continuing to let McCain's people divide and conquer us like we're a bunch of stupid rats.

Of course, right now Americans don't have realistic options besides buying things that are made in sweatshops-- and we don't even want to relocate all these industries to America, either (what would be better is if we just made it a condition of selling consumer products in the U.S. or of having any offices or investments in the U.S. for these kinds of corporations to pay their foreign workers some kind of a U.S.-mandated minimum wage). But we definitely can stop talking and acting as if we like and accept this McCain-like plutocracy, and we can start looking for home-grown alternatives to giving money to the rich. We can do things like start backyard vegetable gardens (or buying plots of land specifically for crops) instead of paying so much for corporate food, and we can start DVD-sharing co-ops with our social networks (Think how many friends you and your friends have, including on MySpace or on Friendster! Of you have a few hundred or even a thousand people in your extended social network, you can get them all in on it. Just put a limit on how many DVDs each person can borrow a month (not returning a DVD on time gets you kicked out), get a geek to set up a privacy-protected website to manage it, and you can save money from at least down-grading your NetFlix membership to a cheaper version of the membership.). The answers are out there, and we just have to reach for them-- and if we don't, we're culpable. But if we do, then triumph is inevitable.