So there it is. The Senate Finance Committee killed the public option in the healthcare “reform” bill and nary a whimper has come from the White House. Iowa’s Sen. Chuck Grassy assured the public that the committee did it a tremendous favor since government is nothing but a predator that would feed on corporate profits in its fanatical obsession to bring affordable health care to the poor and disenfranchised who don’t count anyway.
It should come as no surprise. The sad truth is that the public option was on life support the first time Obama brought it up during his campaign.
Maybe progressives will finally realize that it’s time they got over Barack Obama. Some still hope that he will turn a corner and start kicking ass and taking names as he ramrods a progressive program through a corporately-owned Congress.
It’s not going to happen. Even as early as July, 2008, it was obvious that Barack Obama was just another charming corporate Democrat who had the good fortune to run against the Cheney administration. Compared to that bunch, even the Jack the Ripper would have looked good. It also helped that his long-in-the–tooth opponent chose a total ditzoid as his running mate.
The sad fact is that both the White House and Congress are carbuncles on the corporate ass, and whither the ass goes, so go they.
So here we are, shut out and shivering in a dark ally, hoping against hope that the fat cats partying inside might throw us a stale crust of a well-chewed hunk of gristle. But the door never opens and the cold continues to seep into our bones.
So, what to do? Well maybe it’s time to think about a third party…and a collective cringe goes up from the left as, like Banquo’s ghost, the specter of Ralph Nader materializes.
Fear not, this would be a third party with a difference. The fatal mistake that has been made by third parties in the past is putting up a candidate for president. People prefer a politically-correct hack in the White House to an unknown third-party candidate. Should a third party candidate, such as William Jennings Bryant, garner some popularity, the Democrats would co-opt him and neutralize his message.
The key to success for a third party would be to avoid the White House like the plague and concentrate its efforts on the House of Representatives. It would be much easier to sell a third party to a congressional district than to an entire country. The idea would be to pack the House with enough third-party representatives to gum up the works until some meaningful progressive legislation was on the books.
So what would this third party’s platform be? Simple: the decorporatization of America.
What we need is rudeness! Forget the politeness or the dry recitation of facts and statistics. This party would have to roar, its rhetoric would have to soar. Poetry would have to flow from its lips as it demonized the corporate world and revealed it for the blind, bumbling monster that it is.
Arundhati Roy sums it up nicely when she asks, “What happens now that democracy and the free market have fused into a single predatory organism with a thin, constricted imagination that revolves almost entirely around the idea of maximizing profits?” She goes on to say that, “(W)hat we need is a feral howl, or the transformative power and real precision of poetry.”
It would be a party that would not consider its day complete until it had said something to sent Glen Beck into a paroxysm of spittle-sprayed rage.
From this simple plank, the decorporatization of America, many splinters would fly. Our wars are corporate, the devastation of our environment is corporate, our poverty is corporate, our shrinking middle class is corporate, and the underfunding of our schools is corporate. The list goes on and on. Every running sore on Liberty’s face can be traced back to a corporate policy.
With such a platform, we could redirect public anger to the real source of its problems: the corporations. We could put to rest the many red herrings the corporate media throws up to deflect this anger. The “illegal” immigrant “problem” is a shining example of this. (Listen folks! That Mexican with the leaf blower strapped to his back didn’t close your factory, he didn’t deny your child health care, he isn’t foreclosing on your home, he didn’t get you son killed in one of our corporate wars. It’s the bastards in corporate boardrooms, who are paying him peanuts to keep their lawns nicely manicured, that did it.)
So, what to do? A while back, I suggested a 28th Amendment to the Constitution stripping corporations of their personhood and denying them any rights under the 14th Amendment or the Bill of Rights. With this amendment, corporation would have no rights; they would only have obligations enumerated by their charters, and these charters could be revoked should they fail to live up to them.
This would enable us to cleanse corporate corruption from Congress. Corporations and their PR hacks have deftly painted bribery as an exercise in free speech protected by the Bill of Rights. Sorry, guys, but free speech is a right enjoyed only by “natural” persons, not by legal fictions. Thank you very much, but we’ll go with public financing of our election campaigns from now on.
Out of this amendment would flow the realization that it’s a misnomer to call corporate property “private” property. Private property is that which is possessed by natural persons. The ownership of corporate property is so diffuse that its really quasi-private property and subject to strict public control.
And when the right screams, "Socialism!" we replay, "Damn straight!"
It’s a wild dream, one that would take generations to realize. But it is a dream that must be dreamt, and the dynamic that drives it is a simple question: What kind of world do we want to leave for our children and our grandchildren. When my first granddaughter was born, I did some math and realized that her children will probably live into the twenty-second century.
What will their inheritance be?