An eerie, fearsome religion has once again settled over America like an evil fog. It’s not the worship of a dead prophet or of Gods flitting in the ether. This religion, always lurking in the shadows behind the struggle of ordinary citizens, is, as most religions, false. And, as most religions, it robs the people. Its principal dogma was stated in 1952 by Charles Erwin Wilson, then president of General Motor, when he said, “What’s good for General Motors is good for the country.” Its broader application, the theorem that has a bloody strangle hold on the people, on the environment, and yes, on the world, is what’s good for the corporate God is good for Americans.
One wonders how the people of this country can stand mutely by and watch our country that is owned by the corporate glob continually strike out against the struggle of workers for a wage that at least equals a wage paid in l978. How do we endure a congress that allows corporate moguls, the wealthy and the powerful, own its members, a congress that snubs its nose at citizens’ rights for health care, that reapportions the wealth of the nation by tax cuts for the rich, that strikes out at a judicial system that should be dedicated to deliver justice to the injured, the maimed and the forgotten, a congress that is ready to give up the earth and her splendor of riches for the profit of oil companies and polluting manufacturers, and, indeed, a congress that is willing to sacrifice the integrity of this country and the lives of its youth to gain unresolved benefits in waging war as an aggressor? Like most responses assembled to explain the irrational conduct of man, the answer is a certain religion.
The people believe. Believe. They elect representatives who believe. They endure all nature of hardship because of their beliefs. A taxi driver believes that if hungry mothers on welfare are deprived humane treatment the taxi driver will somehow benefit. His religion prevents him from understanding that for every penny of benefit he might receive by an inhumane abandonment of the poor, corporations scoop up billions in corporate welfare in the form of tax incentives, and subsidies that pillage the poor and middle class. Donald Barlett and James Steele wrote recently in Time Magazine that corporate welfare, [the nation’s tithing to the church of corporate profit] is “a game in which governments large and small subsidize corporations large and small….” These reporters tell us that “the federal government alone shells out $125 billion a year in corporate welfare.” which does not include what they call “a different kind of feeding frenzy that is taking place” at the state and local level where “politicians stumble over one another in the rush to arrange special deals for select corporations.” All of this is in support of the religion that what is good for the corporate oligarchy is good for the people while such corporate welfare “eliminates rather than creates jobs.” But the prevailing religion explains it all: Keep the faith. If the corporate hogs at the trough get fat, does it not follow that the people will somehow also benefit?
Faced with a choice between their own welfare and that of the corporate God, the people stand in fear. Dare they speak out against this religion? Would they be seen as communists or un-American? Must they not blindly embrace the false doctrine that if the rich cannot get richer there will be no crumbs left under the table for them?
Like all religions, the truth of doctrine must be accepted on faith. Facts are meaningless or if they are given attention, they become lost in arguments also based on faith. Workers who have loyally dedicated their lives to the religion discover that they are disposed of like dirty rags when they are no longer useful in the work place. The people, afraid to attack the church and its clergyæthe corporate owned mediaæsimply huddle in their faith and wait for the next corporate squeeze that will reduce even further their piddling wealth and their waning stature.
The Democratic Party, too, has been captured by this false religion. It has become nothing more than the other side of the corporate mouth, its eyes closed like the proverbial monkey’s that can see no evil nor speak none. In shame we see it with its head bowed and nodding in sycophantic concurrence, its emptied heart given over to the Gods of corporate profit. Democrats whine over why they have done so poorly. How, they ask, could the party that purports to represent the people be abandoned by the people? And how, pray tell, could the people so enthusiastically hug the party that all of these years has stood steadfastly for the rich, the powerful and the corporate power structure?
The answer, of course, is that the people have finally come to see those at the heart of this religion as their new prophets. The wisdom of the times is to hate our fellow man and love the non-breathing, dead, corporate God, to distrust the worker who wants to join a union, to turn our backs on the poor, to cage the miscreants who are left with little other hope than that provided by crime, to throw up more prisons while we pay teachers less and erect fewer schools. We have come to believe that to build muti-billion dollar stadiums for rich team owners while our ghettos rot is just and American.
What is the hope for America? Our children, and grandchildren cannot survive in a world where a false religion robs the poor, permits the corporate God to cheat its workers of their just dues and to steal their hard earned pensions while these criminals are tapped lightly on their lily white wrists. We cannot survive as a nation in a world that sees us, in the best corporate style, bulling our poorer neighbors with the treat of our power. That might is right is at the foundation of this religion. To survive, we must set aside the religion of corporate omnipotence and tell the truth for once. As one correspondent wrote with heretical courage, let us, “Stand up honestly and courageously for workers, consumers, voters, investors, people who breathe air and drink water and eat food. Do what’s best for them. Big business can take care of itself.”