During this economic crisis as one measure or another is proposed and enacted in order to confront it, defeat it and win: I am left questioning whether we can defeat and win this economic crisis. It can be compared to the war on terror which many have debated can actually be won. I for one do not believe we can win this war on terror until we change our foreign policy; namely our politicians allegiance to AIPAC. In past columns, I have addressed this allegiance.
Moving on, there is a word that is thrown around by right-wing pundits as if it were a cancer. The word being socialism. Through various interviews on any network or cable program, they are making us afraid of a word which had nothing to do with our current economic crisis. The true cancer seen now by many is capitalism. If one can name this cancer, it would be named after the fictional character in “Wall Street”, Gordon Gekko.
With smoking as the lead cause for lung cancer, then greed is the cause that led to this form of cancer. Unlike smoking, one does not have to partake in that action or be around the person partaking in it to feel its affects.
Think about it, millions of Americans were not in the board rooms of these huge corporations as they paved a way towards this economic crisis/cancer; yet we are all afflicted by it.
The ‘Gordon Gekko’ cancer has had and continues to have a ripple affect that has not only devastated this country, but the world as well. It became an outbreak which has led to the suffering of millions. Those who have lost their jobs, lost their health care, their homes and their dignity. The ramifications of this cancer are still being revealed to us on a daily basis. These cancer patients cry out for a CDC like agency to come to their rescue. Yet, there are the right-wing pundits distracting them by telling them their greatest threat is socialism. Nonsense!
As the government has cracked down on agents that have caused actual cancers which lead to so many deaths; they have failed at cracking down on the cause of this ‘Gordon Gekko’ cancer. They allowed this one cancer to strike whomever is in its path. Some will scream bloody-murder when it comes to regulation and laws to oversee these giant corporations. In juxtaposition, some will think nothing of passing laws and regulations that affect each and everyone of us. Maddening, I know.
If the government can demonize a smoker or any other agent that cause actual cancers, it should equally demonize those who have helped the outbreak of this economic cancer to spread. Then again, they really cannot bite the hand that feeds them. Just visit OpenSecrets.org to see which corporations are donating to your politician and there you will find proof.
When he was alive, I was a fan if that is the proper term to use of the late Pope John Paul ll and throughout his life he continually spoke out on behalf of human rights. Just before former Pres. George W. Bush unleashed “Shock and Awe” upon a guiltless people in Iraq, he stated: “You go without God.” As bombs rained down on Baghdad. Years prior to that, the late Pope made an historic visit to Cuba back in January of 1998.
In his Homily during the closing Mass on January 25th, 1998, he had this to say of capitalism: “various places are witnessing the resurgence of a certain capitalist neoliberalism which subordinates the human person to blind market forces and conditions” If he were still alive today, I wonder what the late Pope’s opinion would be of this financial disaster. Would he castigate those at AIG, Bank of America and Citigroup? Would he equally castigate our politicians as they cave to these powerful interest groups day-after-day while supposedly telling us all they will fight for us? In following the late Pope’s life since he was the predominant force which brought down communism, I do think he would have been a force to reckon with.
Whether or not one agrees with the Catholic church in totality when it comes to human rights such as abortion, homosexuality, sex before marriage as well as others, in this Homily, he was speaking of broader human rights. The right not to be subordinated by political forces or economic ones.
As millions here in America feel they are without hope and are made to feel inferior in many respects, the Pope also stated: "For many of the political and economic systems operative today, the greatest challenge is still that of combining freedom and social justice, freedom and solidarity, so that no one is relegated to a position of inferiority." If only those that help spread the 'Gordon Gekko' cancer had listened to the late Pope. Or was their design all along was to become this cancer-causing agent? Either way, had the late Pope’s message been followed, we may be living in a different world today. Nah, mankind especially those in power having free will and all would have sided with greed over any benefit to we the people. Not to blanket-judge all who represent us, but there are many through their ascension into powerful positions, choose greed over serving the people.
In listening to many within the right-wing who will use God in any argument to disparage socialism, while propping up capitalism, the Pope also stated: “It is helpful to recall that a modern State cannot make atheism or religion one of its political ordinances.” Let not their voices be the ones you listen to but a true holy man that was admired and followed by millions. I would mention a large man who bloviates as he speaks to millions via his radio-show; and the figure that former Vice President Cheney sided with over Colin Powell, but to even mention his name as I write of the late Pope seems sacrilegious.
A great lesson to us all can be found in that same segment of his Homily: "The State, while distancing itself from all extremes of fanaticism or secularism, should encourage a harmonious social climate and a suitable legislation which enables every person and every religious confession to live their faith freely, to express that faith in the context of public life and to count on adequate resources and opportunities to bring its spiritual, moral and civic benefits to bear on the life of the nation."
Some may scream at the secularism he cited since we are a country that separates church from state. Do not let that word derail us from a far larger conversation we as a country should be having. Then again, do those in power really want to hear what we have to say? As long as powerful interests have control over the actions of our elected leaders, our voices as we scream will be tantamount to screaming into the wind. Ever try making your opinion known to your representative in both houses of congress? If you are lucky, you get a nice little form letter sent to you thanking you for your input, all at the taxpayer’s expense.
I would touch upon his message of faith, but faith is personal. Even one’s non-belief in a higher power or God is truly personal.
What is not personal, but very public is, how does supporting the same old failed economic policies which reward huge corporations truly benefit all of us? Is it moral to do so as so many go without? Please take note where he cited: “suitable legislation” Given these harsh economic times, I do believe that it is suitable to regulate the markets which have been at the crux of a cancer that has spread world-wide. Regulation should be seen as chemotherapy to help kill this cancer.