The media give us the “news” in unrelated smidgins like the blind men in the fable reporting their separate encounters with the elephant. And the bits and pieces are scary enough.
But if you stand back, waaaay back, and try to see the picture as a whole, the best that we can hope for is that the Rapture really is coming tonight.
On every front, a corporate assault on democracy is raging.
Consider these developments:
In the U.S. Congress, corporations have become so almighty that the “Democratically controlled” Senate couldn’t muster the votes to end $2 billion a year in taxpayer subsidies for the five biggest U.S. oil companies, which have become the most profitable enterprises in the world. The oil companies earn about $3 billion in profits every week, yet – inexplicably – get $4 billion in taxpayer subsidies every year.
To nobody’s surprise, the Republican controlled House had already voted to continue the oil subsidies.
If Congress had approved the bill, the oil-subsidy funds would have been used to reduce the national deficit.
Meanwhile, the Republicans are proposing to dismantle Medicare and eventually do away with the rest of America’s social safety net as a way of dealing with the nation’s tide of red ink.
Republican controlled states are laying off public workers and slashing services while enacting tax breaks for business – big business. The small-business folks can go fish. Congress is even taking away their health-insurance tax credits.
Funds for waging war are untouchable, of course, and America’s wars seemingly have no end. The huge war industry – arms manufacturers, defense contractors and the myriad business interests that profit from war – prospers as thousands perish in conflicts that make no sense.
On every hand, “democracy” is being thwarted. Under Republican rule, state after state is enacting laws to limit the voting rights of minorities, the poor and other demographic groups that traditionally support Democrats. The oligarchs are taking steps to ensure the levers of power can never again fall into the hands of “the people.”
Republican controlled states are also attacking organized labor and passing laws designed to keep the masses from uniting against them – laws on such hot-button topics as abortion and gay rights.
And the U.S. Supreme Court is issuing rulings to strengthen the hand of the corporate elite.
None of this is secret.
Yet nobody seems able to do anything about it.
The corporate manipulators have built a mighty force over the years, funding politicians, creating “think tanks” and university departments, buying up the media, and even stacking the courts. Now, the crusade is paying off.
To counter this top-down revolution, Democrats will have to work harder than ever before. They will have to fight the new voting laws in the court, for example, and if the suits fail, they will have to make sure that voters have the required photo identification and other paperwork required by the legislation.
And they will have to cleanse the party of politicians who side with the Republicans. They will have to take the primaries seriously – as the Republican activists are doing.
The 2012 election will test the nation’s spirit. If organized labor holds back, as it’s threatening to do because of lukewarm Democratic support, and if disappointed progressives go off in a corner to sulk, the war may be lost forever. Their only hope of a better future is to work harder.
Do they have the stomach for it?