As an old guy, I recall school kids reciting the Gettysburg Address. I can hear that awe-inspiring, heart-touching closing line that only a Lincoln could compose, "that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." Well folks, times have changed and revision is in order.
To better reflect the present governance of our country and in recognition of the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, I propose the following:
- The Gettysburg Address shall now be titled the Greedysburg Address
- The closing line shall read, "that government of the corporation, by the corporation, and for the corporation shall not perish from the earth"
- At the start of each school day, following the mandated school prayer, the Greedysburg Address shall be recited and then followed by the Pledge of Allegiance 2.0
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America Inc. and to the shareholders for which it stands, one nation under the US Chamber of Commerce, profitable, unassailable, with tax breaks for a select few
As a young man, I witnessed socialists and communists screaming their anti-capitalist slogans. Truth be told (the official creed of this author) their shouting seemed stilted, silly and just plain ridiculous. But amidst their shrieking and silly rhetoric, lay some truth.
Shouts of "Power to the People" sounded goofy and unnecessary. The people of this wondrous nation had the power; we elected our representatives who, in turn, would then legislate for the benefit of us, the populace. Incredibly, it now appears that "Power to the People" means that the bulk of the power lies in the Corporate World.
Our Constitution clearly states that the government may not infringe upon the liberty and freedom of people. Somehow in a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court Inc. construed that constitutionally-protected freedoms applying to persons are henceforth applicable to corporations.
BUT damn it, Corporations ARE NOT PEOPLE. Humans are created by insemination, not incorporation. Corporations are entities created by government edict, not coitus. It is illogical to say a government must keep its hands off corporations when it's governmental hands that created the entity.
Corporations, unlike people, have but one purpose, and that purpose is to generate dollars for their stockholders (people). Corporations are unique in the world of capitalism. The corporate investor has limited liability. The most an investor can lose is his or her original investment. Any additional assets are protected.
Incorporation is seemingly the antithesis of our much praised capitalist spirit. True capitalists take real risk. Incorporating capitalists assume limited risk. True capitalists use their assets to start businesses, and if the businesses succeed, they might become a gazillionaires. If they fail, their creditors can seize all their assets. Oops, there goes the BMW, the pearls and the house. Now that takes guts.
The government created a vehicle for people to be quasi-capitalists. They invest, and if the entity is successful, they reap the profits; if it fails, their initial investment goes, and that is it. Check out the history of incorporation; learn what a relatively new concept it is, and how cautious governments were in granting the right to incorporate. Now, one just visits a website, fills out a few forms and voila, "inc" is on the letterhead.
It's ridiculously simple - corporations are investment vehicles for people, not people. We all know corporations have the potential to amass unfathomable wealth, wealth at times surpassing the wealth of nation states. If permitted, they can, and will use that wealth to influence governments to aid in their insatiable quest to generate profits for their stockholders. That's their job.
As I have said in previous blogs, if allowed, corporations will do all in their power to lower costs and maximize profits. They will pay the lowest wages possible, limit the rights of all who would challenge their power, access at the lowest costs natural resources, and have the public pick up the tab and suffer the consequences of environmental degradation. That's their job.
Corporate America is good at what they do: they finance the campaigns of cooperative legislators; they control much of media; they are filling our courts with corporate friendly judges, reducing the right of every David to stand up to every Goliath.
I am not a conspiracy theorist. I am not a socialist. Nor am I a communist. I am just a grandpa who is witnessing our government become the government of the corporation, by the corporation, and for the corporation.
Message to President Obama:
Most Americans (conservative and progressive alike) know that Corporations are NOT people, and must be regulated.
Spend every day of your campaign calling for a Constitutional Amendment to undo the "America United" decision.
Use your bully pulpit to educate Americans and counter the misinformation being foisted upon them. Americans are not stupid but they, like all humans, can be misled.
Arouse them, energize them. Tell them we must put the brakes on corporate power, if not, our democracy is over.
Treat this threat as we treated the Axis Powers in WWII. It is as dangerous!
Perhaps this might even help secure your re-election, and then you might spend some time protecting our middle class. If you fail, it will be "Power to the People", but the people will have names like General Electric and Exxon Mobil.
PS: Following the advice of a reader, all messages and letters directed to President Obama are sent to the White House.