I’ve had enough time to reflect on the 2012 Presidential campaign with dispassion now. Like you, I suffered it for two years so I feel I have a right to respond to it. My takeaway is that it was ruled by capitalism.
The majority of Americans repudiated trickle-down economics, and the politics of fear, intolerance and disinformation, yet the Republicans keep pressing their case in Congress. The GOP is in reassessment. Hopefully it began with the acknowledgement that America is made up of more than plutocrats, straight, working-class white men, and ultra-conservative Christians (although it’s insulting to call them Christians). Unfortunately, the last I read they had decided they need to improve their messaging, not their message.
I, for one, thought Mr. Romney would have been more successful had he simply been himself. He wouldn’t have seemed so slippery and opaque. But then again he had to appeal to the extreme right in his party, so he wore a patina that made him look like 1954.
As I see it, the same problems exist as did before the election. Here we are with an anemic economic recovery, continued unacceptable unemployment, growing deficits and a world of competitors using limited resources on a finite planet. Yes, we are a bit better off, but the process is still glacially slow.
Billions of campaign dollars were spent and very little changed. Joshua Holland from Alternet.org wrote, “As much as $6 billion was spent in an election that returned the same Speaker of the House and Senate Majority Leader, and the same man in the Oval Office.” (Yes, one can argue that gerrymandering helped the Republicans hold the House of Representatives.)
And yes, that money created jobs for the marketing and related industries but what did it cost the rest of us? How much damage was done to our planet to create that $6 billion to conduct the election.
We’re processing our only home into money. The very substrate of our web of life is being destroyed by our obsession for continually improved financial performance. The seeds of destruction are being planted by the system that brought us the best economy the world has ever known: Capitalism!
For those who cannot abide nuance, it might be best to stop reading now because reality abounds with subtleties, like it not. The very system that made this country the envy of the world, is now destroying that world in its name.
Capitalism needs a refit – a rethinking – a turn toward the truth; infinite growth cannot continue on a finite planet. Worse yet, the historical advantages capitalism brought to most of us equally according to our efforts has disappeared. The vast majority of the benefits are going to fewer and fewer people and the burdens of the devastation are being borne by the rest of us.
Corporations consider the costs of their devastation, to be externals. Externals, because they don’t show up on the internal profit and loss statements. But that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. We, the non-suspecting, pay.
What was once the first rung on the ladder to a better life is now a dead-end street made up of people working two or three-part time jobs, without a living wage, no benefits, no bargaining power, and complete absence of job security.
The Koch brothers and Walmarts of the world have done a pretty complete job of destroying unions and the ability of the common man to collectively bargain for a better life. GOP politicians are doing their best to seal the coffin. And let’s don’t forget the Supreme Court ruled campaign contributions were too hampered by regulations, so they took out all the stops.
As long as corporations don’t expand their measurement criteria for what defines acceptable performance, the only thing that will continue to drive decision-making is profit dollars– and more and more of them every quarter. On this trajectory, the system will devour itself.
As long as our elections cost in the billions, money will continue to rule them. As long as money does, the world is at risk of complete destruction in its search.
So celebrate or mourn the election. It won’t matter as long as both politicians spent $1 billion to run. The plain truth is that when a person cannot become president without a billion dollars, capitalism rules our political process. And more and more of those dollars create a wake of destruction the present form of capitalism leaves behind it.
To counter all this negativity I want to leave you with something positive. Representative John Shimkus, of the 15th Congressional District of Illinois reassured us during his testimony at a meeting of the US House Subcommittee on Energy and Environment. Quoting several Bible passages he pointed out ‘The planet won’t be destroyed by global warming because God promised Noah.”