After the recent news stories broke about the debit card rebellion the atmosphere in the board rooms of the banking giants of America must have been chilling with cell phones ringing, emails flashing across the screens, senior executives blaming each for the disaster and junior executives bracing for the inevitable chopping block punishment.
For the giants with an almost $340
billion of combined capitalization, the back-pedaling could not have been a
pretty sight. And, it was all over an exiguous $5 fee. Hard to imagine, the
equivalent of an extra-large cup of the green Melusine coffee, once a month?
The strange part of this phenomenon that spread like a raging wildfire was that it was completely unorganized. There were no chain letters, no TV commercials, no nothing. It all came about by small individuals, i.e., working-class people, single moms, retired couples, small business owners, students and possibly a few wealthy people motivated by the principles of the cause. They had been saturated with abuse, and they took it to the bank, literally. Enough is enough.
The initial idea of the banks to charge for a service made sense and looked good on paper as there is some expense in the debit card business but the fees would have reaped millions of dollars above the cost of the services. Forget the fact that they have tons of the customer's money to loan out virtually free of cost. It was too much, the temptation of free money, just waiting to be plucked.
Now, let us move over to the political side of abuse, The Dragons of War, if you please. How can governments grow and prosper without stepping on individuals, on some part of society or some other country? It may be possible but it usually doesn't work that way.
Loop-holes are created, laws are twisted and not too infrequently, lies are told and soon, tanks rumble in the night. Propaganda of government leaves the propaganda of Madison Avenue in the dust. The way it usually works is that elite get rich and the proletariat pays the bills. The theme thumps closer to home at every turn until finally, it explodes under the light of truth.
The house of war comes crumbling down when the people get a belly full of being raped, plundered and having their sons, daughters sacrificed and their grandchildren being covered with debt before they are born? The elite of government, like the elite of the business world, have long considered the small account holders as expendable pawns and they are to be used as carelessly as clay pigeons.
The attitudes of those in power are universal having been around since the advent of the first empire. Throughout history the common man, i.e., the slaves, the glorious workers, the King's men and their wives, the brood-mares for the legions, have paid a heavy price for the flag.
When the flag falls, the dictators and their sycophants usually have a nice place on some friendly foreign shores to wait out eternity and enjoy the interlude with countless millions of absconded loot in the form of gold, silver, dollars, francs, or pesos.
Now, in the United States the
limits of complacency must certainly be stretched to the breaking point. When
the inevitable happens the wrath of the people will be fearsome in the halls of
congress and above. Hordes of politicians will be voted out of office and sent
packing. Like empire, revolt against empire is universal as well. And
sometimes, empire shoots itself in the foot.
As was shown in the last few weeks, change can be made when the force of the people is applied. Nobody had to tell us when and how to move on the money barons; we knew instinctively that we were being taken for granted and and abused in the wallet with a $5 charge, for nothing.
Pray tell, if we got upset over a $5 fee, why would we want to pay some greedy defense contractor $800 a gallon for diesel fuel to facilitate our sons and daughters being shot at in some foreign country that never attacked us in the first place.
Why did we allow over 58,000 Americans to be killed in Vietnam where the major transport was bicycle and sampan? And do we dare mention the countless civilians victims of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos? Self-righteousness absolves many issues, for the victors anyway.
Of course, it goes without question that human tragedies, greed, corruption, graft and propaganda are integral parts of all wars. It is our complicity and what we want to do about it that is the issue.
The game plan has not changed, only the names of the players have changed. All the aforementioned facets of war are still in place as human nature is flawed as ever. All that said, we now know how to stop the madness. It is not by sending long flag-waving patriotic emails to each other and waiting 20 minutes to see if something good will happen.
The way to stop the insanity is the
same way we stopped the debit card fees; you send your message to the president, to
your congressman and to your senators. If we make enough noise, they will
listen, or, they simply won't get reelected.
Mr/Madam Congressman; Your charges and fees on our cards are out of control.
Mr. President; "Do You Hear the People Sing"?
Charles Foerster 2011
Photo credit: Department of Defense, Abu Ghraib, Iraq, 2003, Public Domain.
Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia, click here