Saturday, June 6, 2009
TRUTH, JUSTICE, AND THE AMERICAN WAY
Superman, where are you? Aren't you the one who fought for Truth, Justice, and the American Way? After fleeing the exploding planet Krypton, wasn't it here you chose to stay because we were a fair-minded nation of opportunity and equality for all? We could sure use some of your super-powered aid right now, Superman. We seem to have lost our way, or to have become confused about the true and noble meaning of those important words.
Take Truth, for example. Superman, it seems to be in preciously short supply nowadays. We just left a presidential administration (that of George W. Bush) who apparently didn't know the meaning of the word. They lied to us about their economic agenda, saying that huge tax cuts for the rich would guarantee the creation of millions of good paying jobs and prosperity for average Americans. They told us that deregulating businesses would help grow them and make them healthier. But what happened instead was that good paying jobs here were sent overseas to cheap foreign labor markets, while corporate CEOs stuffed their pockets with giant wads of cash. And our product quality and safety declined and our economy collapsed. That administration also told us that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, when they didn't. They lied us into war there, a bloody and costly and unnecessary war for plunder and profit. They lied about many other things too, Superman. Their former Vice President, Dick Cheney, is STILL going around lying. And a TV news network lied for them every day, and still does now. A widely-heard radio commentator named Rush Limbaugh has been constantly lying on the air for years. So much for Truth. All of these people have been getting away with big lies for decades now. Haven't you noticed, Superman? What IS Truth nowadays, anyway? It's getting harder and harder to tell all the time!
And Justice. That is also in extremely short supply today, Superman. Scooter Libby, one of the former Vice President's top aides, was convicted of perjury but never served any time because the former President commuted his sentence. Meanwhile, hundreds of other poor and minority people get wrongly convicted all the time and spend long sentences in jail for lesser crimes. Sure doesn't seem like Justice to me. That administration also began an illegal war overseas, began kidnapping and holding without trial persons they thought were suspicious, and instituted the use of torture in direct violation of American and international law. TORTURE, Superman! The very same acts we prosecuted Nazis and Imperial Japanese for in 1946! That administration even redefined it to make it look like it wasn't torture, even though it still was. And now the current administration is apparently letting the former administration get away with it! Where is the Justice in that, Superman? I don't see it---maybe with your x-ray, microscopic, or telescopic vision you can find it for me. And wealthy corporate CEOs export jobs, set up dummy companies offshore to avoid paying taxes, freeze their workers' pay rates, make health care and prescriptions so expensive that 1 in every 6.5 of us can no longer afford health insurance (while some even have to choose between buying food or prescriptions), and then these same already wealthy CEOs reward themselves with exorbitant, ever-rising salaries and bonuses. Congress turns a blind eye to all of this. Superman, would you please use some of your super strength on all of these scoundrels and squeeze a little more fairness, decency, and responsibility out of them? They're getting away with economic murder, and that sure ain't Justice!
And the poor old American Way. She sure isn't what she used to be, Superman. You would be ashamed. The NEW American Way is a way of greed; of getting all you can for yourself, and to hell with everybody else. It has given overly profit-hungry, malignant artificial institutions like corporations the legal rights of actual human beings and has enabled them to act legally in a very anti-social manner. It has allowed the former President to attack other countries as he sees fit and to suspend civil liberties here at home. It has allowed he and his former Vice President to reward the former Vice President's company with gigantic non-bid contracts paid for by taxpayers. It has allowed us to become unilateral bullies to the rest of the world. We set up institutions like the IMF, World Bank, and WTO to supposedly aid poor, developing countries, but give them money only if they meet strict criteria for spending it which benefits our own institutions tremendously while doing little for the poorer country. And Superman, pregnancies can be ended before they come to term if a person chooses, and an extremist who belonged to a "pro-life" group has just KILLED, IN A CHURCH, a doctor who performed that type of procedure, and numerous other "pro-lifers" like Ann Coulter have applauded the action, although others have not. That has now become the American Way, Superman, and it's pretty ugly.
So Superman, where have you gone? Were you driven away by neocon or miltary/industrial complex volleys of kryptonite? Or have you left in utter disgust at what this nation has now become? As the old adage goes, "when the cat's away, the mice will play." Well, the mice have certainly been playing, and now we need your help as never before. Please fly back here at super speed and make your presence known, will you? Use your heat vision to make crooked corporate CEOs, their lobbyists, and their bought-out pals in Congress start to sweat. Please sit down with the President and Congress and get them back on track. Blow away corrupting special interest influence with your super breath. And with your invulnerability, protect noble, progressive, for-the-people Congresspersons and our President from attacks by greedy corporations and horribly misguided right wing pundits. Will you, Superman?...Superman...?...