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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 7/2/12

The TPP and Our Moral Bottomline

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Say good-bye to our Constitutional rights and liberties, our right to make laws under which all Americans must live, and the hard-won environmental regulatory scheme crafted over the last 40 years. Say good-bye to everything that made America tolerable and livable through the work of the generations since our rebellion against that tyrant, King George III, himself.

Say hello to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or the TPP, crafted in secrecy from the American people and most of their government, but not from our economic masters. It is just so much easier and quicker to destroy sustainable systems than to create them. Under the TPP, an alleged trade agreement, we finally see the death of the nation-state and the recognition of the multi-national corporation as the new and dominant institution on the world stage. Government of, by, and for the people, will go the way of feudal lords and barons, only to be replaced by the rule of the corporate culture--whatever it takes to make the most short term profit; with the planet's premature death as collateral damage. The dissolution has an inevitability that's like entropy in natural systems.

Under the TPP, and with the purchase of our government through the Citizens United ruling, the trans-national uber-elite claim the "right" to plunder and poison the planet at an even faster rate than the world's burgeoning population alone would do if we had responsive governments working on solutions to slow the process. After the TPP passes the Senate ratification hurdle, the Supreme Court will no longer remain Supreme, and Congressional law will no longer apply to foreign corporations doing business in the USA.

Such a challenge has rarely faced the American people. War, the American people know well, and they will only put up with so much of it. However, in this world of sound bites and media control, opposing the TPP seems almost useless. Yet, I cannot help but rebel against the TPP, in defiance of the unsurmontable odds, and am hard-pressed to give a rational explanation.

I usually cite my college-age nieces as a major reason I struggle against these forces, no matter how quixotic the effort seems. Chris Hedges cites an heroic, impoverished woman in Camden, NJ, or his own young children. These "reasons" which we give to those who ask, "Why" are mostly rationalizations. Yes, I love my nieces and my mind turns toward them with each looming long term disaster. Mr. Hedges, I'm sure, deeply loves his children, is committed to giving them the best possible future, and empathizes with and admires his friend in Camden. But we, along with the many OEN members and other pro-people activists, would be in this struggle even if we had no familial connections to future generations. And we have chosen our heroes because they embody our ideals, not our ideals because we have come across people with these qualities.

When I was in my late 20s, I carried a ballot petition endless miles of neighborhood streets and explained issues to hundreds of people for an environmentalist candidate who pledged to prevent our power company from opening a nuclear plant. The local area had natural boundaries which prevented people from evacuating fast enough in the event of an emergency, so the proposed plant had more opposition than normal. I was, and am, opposed to all nuclear power. The neophyte candidate I backed was relatively apolitical before his concerns about the environment moved him to run for office. The person who recruited him, a Democratic Socialist older and wiser than I, told me that the candidate was a person of integrity and would remain responsive to his constituents and reliably passionate about the environment. So for weeks, after work and on weekends, I went out campaigning. When he won, he asked me what sort of position I thought myself qualified to hold since he owed me something for my hard work. I had a secure, okay job and no political ambitions. I told him the truth: all I wanted was for him to be the best state legislator he could, and work hard to do what he felt was right. He seemed confused about why I would put in so much energy for a simple promise, and protested that he owed me something. Perhaps he thought I was holding out to cash in for some future, big favor.

It's still almost impossible for me to explain why I dedicate huge swaths of my life working to "make things better"--especially since I've realized that human nature, being what it is, means that no gains are permanent, and the battle will last as long as humankind exists. Often there are other activities I enjoy more. It's not like I think there's some being in the sky with an abacus tallying up my deeds for reward or punishment. Or that I expect to see dramatic results. Sometimes, like now, I expect nothing immediate from helping fan the embers of awareness, but the sense that it will make it easier later on for others to restart the fire.

Maybe one is born this way, like being able to carry a tune. What I couldn't explain to the newly elected legislator, and what I don't need to explain to you, fellow OENer, is how much I crave a world where injustices are the exception, not the rule. With all the built-in tragedies of the human condition, it feels like a no-brainer to join with others to tilt the table in the direction of minimizing what pain we can, including our disconnect from the natural world. I do not know how to convey to someone who does not instinctively feel the same, that my dream come true, my impossible winning multi-millions lottery ticket, would be to wake up knowing that each of us humans, in whatever he/she may doing, is oriented toward making things work out well for as many as possible for as long as possible.

Again, like most OENers, I am more aware than the average person of the machinations of the most powerful few. I read I.F. Stone's Weekly in my teens and kept on paying attention since. I have a pretty good idea of what drives that most in of "in groups." We may have to live in their nightmarish world order, but on this site we are not interested in the amenities of their Caribbean estates. Here we see the endless hours they spend scheming to retain more wealth than can be spent in 100 lifetimes, scheming to obtain the power to destroy responsive government and to make the world's billions feel helpless and miserable, all while hastening the end of life on the planet. Welcome home to OEN, people who say to all their destruction, "What the heck kind of aspirations are those? Where's the up side?" I don't think we could stop ourselves from opposing the TPP if we tried.
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Like this country's founders, I believe that the widest political empowerment under the rule of law is the surest way of having its resources work for the long term best interests of us all. The longer I live, the more I see that supports that (more...)
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