Sunday, March 22, 2009

An Oligarchy

We've heard for some time how money has been the defining influence in Washington D.C. and we've known about the power of lobbyists for lo these many years. The thing about the lobbying was that competing interests knew the rules of the game and that made it easier for us, the sheep, to go along with the lobbying and the money influence. We could, however stupid it was, justify it to ourselves. Nowadays the influence peddling is getting a little too brazen.
For me the influence of money became an issue in my head when my wife and I spent a couple of years sailing through Central America. We spent quite a lot of our time in the company of North Americans, people like ourselves, taking a sabbatical and sailing relatively expensive boats on voyages of inner exploration. We witnessed many round table discussions about our host countries as we travelled and we saw many criticisms levelled at the tiny little nations and their level of corruption. North Americans enjoyed the superiority of belonging to a caste system that allowed for upward mobility. As I sat there and listened to the denigrating remarks I was forced to look closely at my own political navel and acknowledge our system of lobbying as one more rung in the ladder of world wide political corruption.
Thus it is that I wonder how much stomach we the people have for the naked power grab currently being enacted by the merchant bankers and power brokers who are brazenly taking our public monies and using them to fund their own private power bases. This privatizing of public money is a power grab and the consolidation of an oligarchy in the United states that is reminiscent of fuedal serfdom at worst and railway robber barons of the 19th century at best. The loss of public wealth has bene staggering and the funneling of public money into private hands has made a mockery of the refusal of our leaders to fund any public works or social programs over the decades (how could single payer health care have ever been too expensive compared to this bare assed theft of public money called a bail out?).
The oligarchs of Latin America, he controlling families of the banana republics have always earned our scorn for putting themselves far above the public interest in their countries. Now we find ourselves impoverished and facing fewer choices,more virtual serfdom and more blatant oligarchs and we do...nothing?

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