I was gonna go postal in a blog (still might) about this but The young Turks once again handled it much better than I ever could.
For those without time to watch the video–and if you haven’t heard–the short version is that Yovany Gonzalez is suing Wells Fargo bank because he believes they fired him 3 days before his daughter, Mackenzie, was scheduled to have cancer surgery. Gonzalez alleges that the financial conglomerate and their insurance provider, United Healthcare, fired him for the express purpose of not having to pay for the expensive medical procedure. (He was not offered his government mandated COBRA coverage until after 90-days…when he was no longer eligible.)
Mackenzie died of cancer in March 2011.
Germane here is the point that corporations are inherently devoid of morality. By design, corporations are meant to, within the scope of the prevalent laws and regulations, generate profits and alleviate personal risk. They can be either good or bad as profit and their executive leadership dictates. Now these amoral “constructs” have assumed overwhelming influence in the U.S. because of our corrupt political system.
A prime example of this manifest corruption is the lack of gun restrictions–hell, there isn’t even talk of restricting access to guns, even after the Aurora, Colorado, Tayvon Martin, Gabby Giffords, and Virginia Tech shootings. Gun restrictions very well might have saved lives in all of these instances. America averages roughly 20 mass shootings a year. Most just don’t make national news. In fact, the rate of gun-related deaths in the United States is 8 times higher than in economically similar nations.
Yet it is political anathema to even consider any gun restrictions–even though a vast majority of Americans think more restrictions are needed. There are even some gun regulations that a majority of NRA members agree with, such as:
1. Requiring criminal background checks on gun owners and gun shop employees. 87 percent of non-NRA gun-owners and 74 percent of NRA gun owners support the former, and 80 percent and 79 percent, respectively, endorse the latter.
2. Prohibiting terrorist watch list members from acquiring guns. Support ranges from 80 percent among non-NRA gun-owners to 71 percent among NRA members.
3. Mandating that gun-owners tell the police when their gun is stolen. 71 percent non-NRA gun-owners support this measure, as do 64 percent of NRA members.
4. Concealed carry permits should only be restricted to individuals who have completed a safety training course and are 21 and older. 84 percent of non-NRA and 74 percent of NRA member gun-owners support the safety training restriction, and the numbers are 74 percent and 63 percent for the age restriction.
5. Concealed carry permits shouldn’t be given to perpetrators of violent misdemeanors or individuals arrested for domestic violence. The NRA/non-NRA gun-owner split on these issues is 81 percent and 75 percent in favor of the violent misdemeanors provision and 78 percent/68 percent in favor of the domestic violence restriction.
A majority–in most case a super-majority–of Americans, a of gun owners, and of NRA members support these reasonable and very commons sense gun controls. Still, no gun regulations get passed because lawmakers fear the power of the NRA and gun manufacturers. Apparently the NRA members don’t matter.
Meanwhile Conservative–and establishment–propaganda has many people convinced that the government–the only body with the authority to check the power of these corporations–is an even greater evil. This has become a self-fulfilling prophecy as our government is now in the hands of corporate machines with no conscience.
We are in dire need of a political revolution that puts power back into the hands of the people. But with people being being allowed to die in the name of profit, access to opportunity shriveling on the vine, more and more advantages being stacked in favor of the rich, and the voice of the people being increasingly ignored, I’m not sure how much longer the window for political change will stay open.
After that, the only option will be violent revolution. In modern times. With modern weapons. No sane person could possibly want that. But given the human inclination to not act, even on our own behalves, until absolutely forced, I dread that large scale violence is becoming increasingly inevitable in the long run.
It is our Constitutional Right to not just be heard, but represented. Despite all the other problems we face, getting money out of politics–ending the purchase of political office–has to be our first and foremost priority.
We need a Constitutional Amendment revoking the corporate personhood which allows business interests to use their dollars as “political speech”. We need strict, draconian campaign finance reform (I would prefer 100%publicly funded elections). Take away the means of buying politicians.
Forget party affiliation. Forget campaign promises.
Crush the corruption.
Get money out of politics. If not for ourselves, for Mackenzie Gonzalez and those like her yet to come.