Tuesday, July 5, 2011

THE DAY AFTER

Went to some backyard barbecues yesterday and ate more than usual. I don't indulge in too many other excesses these days. But any excess and I feel it the next day.

But I was thinking more of The Founding Fathers and the day after they declared their independence from Great Britain and its king. Or the day after any great change, or the beginning of change, and all the days that follow.

They declared their independence but then had to figure out how to keep it and what to do with it. Which took a while. Writing The Constitution wasn't enough. Over the years amendments were added to it, beginning with The Bill of Rights.

And the process continues. As our president is fond of quoting, the forming of "a more perfect union"—which we were far from doing in the beginning in a nation built on the displacement and often killing of natives as well as the forced bondage of Africans brought in irons to what was declared "the land of the free"—more a goal than a reality.

But it has become more and more real since independence was declared. The celebrations in my Jersey town were distinct, as they have been for awhile, with the variety of "Americans" who come from different lands, or whose parents or grandparents did.

The accents may have changed from the Irish and German and Polish I grew up around, more like Middle Eastern, African, Caribbean and Latin American accents today. But the goal is the same. Independence from oppression and censorship and poverty, and the lack of opportunity, free expression and free elections.

We still have a long way to go before we're even close to perfection. But at least we can get closer as long as we aim for that "more perfect union" and maintain our independence from not just foreign authorities, like The Founders were fighting, but those who would dominate and limit our independence from within, like corporations that defy our laws and regulations and refuse to pay their fair share for the freedoms they enjoy.

Did anyone else hear Rachel Maddow tonight point out that last year, after years of making higher profits than any corporation in the history of the world, Exxon was making—in profits—five million dollars an hour, every hour, all year (or for all my memory knows she may have said fifty million and it wouldn't matter because beyond a certain number it's all so obscenely greedy it seems like a fantasy anyway).

There's nothing in The Declaration of Independence or The Constitution giving corporations the rights of individual human citizens, it took an activist rightwing court to do that. Wouldn't it be nice to declare our independence from the corporations that abuse the privilege of making their profits from our country's citizens and their labor and ideas and resources and so much more?

2 comments:

harryn said...

Interesting - if we depersonalize these entities by naming them corporations instead of groups of people that willfully make decisions, they can't be held accountable for their demoralizing and unethical behavior.
I've been reading about 'anima mundi' and how the soul of modernism is being squelched by these ambiguous entities under the guise of needing them to survive.

JIm said...
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