Sunday, March 27, 2011

Worst of both worlds

The US on paper, is a republic. According to the dictionary, that means:

"a state in which the supreme power rests in the body of
citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by representatives
chosen directly or indirectly by them."

Of course, as we know through historical trials, what things are on paper isn't always what they are in real life - take communism, for example. On paper, it sounds really nice - all working for the common good, no one is treated more special than their neighbour. However, in practice that can never work. Leaders will rise to the top, and in the appropriate conditions, fashion a dictatorial regime through the cruel and abrasive use of power.
As I've said before, we have dictators. The fact that we choose to ignore their existence doesn't make them any less real. Corporations have been dancing around the law and hoarding power since the late 1890s, and 20 years later had already grown to a point where Woodrow Wilson painted the bleak picture of "a very different America from the longer a scene of individual enterprise...where comparatively small groups of men...wield a power and control over the wealth and business operations of the country...rivals of the government itself."
How prophetic of you Woodrow. But my, how times have changed.
Our government no longer rivals the corporate stronghold, but embraces it, getting paid finely for their allegiance. Now, that's progressive.
And as we marked the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirt Factory fire a few days ago, I feel it's an opportune time to mention unions.
While I tend to have a rosier outlook on unions than I do corporations, due to their reason for being (protecting the worker as opposed to protecting their bottom line), I do not find them to be without fault.
For example, as Stephen Goldsmith writes in The Wall Street Journal, "In New York City, seniority rules force us to base any layoff on when a public worker was hired, not on whether he or she does a good job." The same holds true for bad teachers that contribute to the dumbing down of our cities and so our country.
Then again, look at who else walks the streets of the Big Apple - the big businessmen on Wall Street who robbed the people of money, homes, jobs and rights.
So, here we stand in the middle of two extremes. On the one hand, you have unions, whose existence is important to the well-being of workers, but can stand in the way of its own aims at bettering public life, through ill planned bureaucracy and unwavering ideological stubbornness.
On the other, you have corporate America, whose existence is a travesty, and does fuck all to better society, using violence and governmental back door dealings to secure ever more blood money and rape ever more freedom and rights from all people.
End result: where we are today. While polls show that Americans are by-in-large moderate, the policies that blanket this country with debt, blood and shame, would suggest otherwise.
The extremes are the loudest. Neither extreme is acceptable.
The red tape that protects unworthy employees should trot over to corporate America and tie it down. There needs to be accountability on both sides. There has to be regulation, for both sides. While I do not advocate a dictatorial government telling people when to do what, I do advocate a government that regulates business and organizations that directly affect the rights and freedoms of the people of this country. That's why we have a government. Of the people, for the people and by the people - to protect our interests and to make decisions based on our needs, not on the needs of organizations and corporations.
If unions are out of control - the people must speak up.
If corporations are out of control - the people must speak up.
Cricket, cricket...
Do Something.

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