America is at war against the most powerful, most resourceful enemy she’s ever faced. Our enemy? American corporations caring nothing for American workers or democracy, but caring everything for immediate profits and massive bonuses, consequences be damned. Specifically, those two-thirds of American corporations paying zero taxes on profits, 1998-2005, offering nothing to support the very fountainhead of their success. Instead paying lobbyists to buy politicians and using pseudo-legal tax schemes as they increasingly starve the very government that our history’s patriots put in place for the purpose of protecting Americans from such mindless corruption.
It’s hardly news that these corporations care nothing for patriotism. One must, and should, search to find the small percentage of corporations not busy blackmailing America’s shrinking worker salaries with threats of offshoring, or lying about some continued level of operation in exchange for a new advantageous law or tax break. (For example: Halliburton “earned” many billions in treasonous Iraqi war profiteering, then, as tax cheat, moved to Dubai. In today’s war on terror, are we so quick to satisfy our enemy’s every whim?) If, as CEO Romney says, “corporations are people,” by anyone’s measure they are the most selfish, cruel and shortsighted people ever to walk this Earth. In their blind search for riches they have the same regard for America’s hard-fought democracy that a junkyard dog has for a neighborhood kitten. Patriots died for democracy: Exxon and GE don’t even pay taxes.
If any of us witnessed an attack on our children we’d do anything to stop it. But that’s exactly what’s happening, this creeping, slow-motion corporate treachery. During WWII workers were valued, and CEO pay was reasonable. Millionaires’ personal tax rates were temporarily above 90 percent, yet war bonds were still a willing, patriotic sacrifice. American workers made us victorious, and with unions, created a once-thriving middle class. Today, greed is whetted among insatiable paper-pushers gambling on America’s tragedies: bank failures, stock market collapses, countless home foreclosures and corporate unemployment in the millions. And their untaxed Swiss bank accounts grow fat. Our country, our future, our very democracy is being hacked to bits by corporations pretending whatever patriotism their tax-deductible advertising dollars buy, 30 seconds at a time.
In November’s upcoming election the battle between American democracy and absolute corporate takeover is shockingly obvious. Romney is so utterly corrupted he obviously sees his crass self-indulgence as virtue. Corporations have grown so dominant as to ridicule the former strength of working Americans united, as jet-setting factory-closers now pay half, or less (0 percent capital gains under Romney-Ryan), the federal income tax rate of working citizens (up to 35 percent). In light of this war, which it surely is, it’s beyond baffling that anyone other than the most destructively gluttonous billionaire could vote Republican.
We’re watching our shared, centuries-tested public education system being starved, understaffed, overcrowded, ridiculed as socialist, Texas-text booked, and chartered out of existence by conservatives to the point where genuine education may soon exist only for those few, like royalty, of fortuitous birth. (Much as college is distressingly near to being.) After all, isn’t a feudal system, without education-based salaries or minimum wages, but ruled by the privileged, exactly what the far right demands, without compromise?
History tells us that informed public support was all America needed to protect democracy from similarly destructive robber barons of a prior era. This November, in order to preserve our beloved democracy, American patriots must once again join together against the unabashedly destructive corporations that own the far right. At 99 to 1 odds, how can we lose?
The writer lives in Galivants Ferry.