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BushCheney Inc.

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The organization was conceived in the garage of an entrepreneurial rightwing think tank. It IPO'd late in the year 2000, and officially opened its doors for business early in 2001. It has since grown into an unprecedented multinational corporation with expansionist tendencies. Soon, the annual shareholder's meeting will take place.

Is this an apt metaphor for the current administration? Will the state of the union address be for "we the people" or more like a shareholder's meeting for the owners of the company? Is the administration running the country like a multinational corporation, complete with foreign subsidiaries and a rubberstamping cronyistic board of directors? Is the administration looking to absorb smaller rivals by hostile takeover, or when possible, friendly mergers, or by forcing them out of business? Has outsourcing, the inevitable consequence of neoliberal economic polices, taken hold in this conglomerate as well? Do we see any forms of corporate self-promotion as well as negative advertising against competitors? Must the general public end up being the proverbial protestors locked outside of the building where the shareholders safely meet and are told that the state of the corporation is "good"?

The business of America is business, or so the old saying goes. Cynically, we seem to have accepted that corporate self-interest involves "shady" business practices and "aggressive" CEOs. Now too, political corporatism is accepted as the norm; at least by some. The questions were asked metaphorically for a reason; to show the absurdity of the statement that "what's good for General Motors, General Electric, or General Whatever, is good for America." Yes, the business of business is business, but for progressives, the business of America is its people. Not the owners, not the shareholders, but the workers, the retirees, the pension holders, the young and the old, the rich and the poor, the healthy and the infirm, the able and the unable. We are not shareholders of the corporation called America. We are not the owners of the country. People can not "own" a country, which is nothing more than a unpatentable concept. Occasionally a for profit company will disgorge a gratuity to the community in which it does business, but it is never the sole purpose of its incorporation. While a nonprofit corporation, on the other hand, should have as its primary concern the welfare of those other than its owners and shareholders, it's still a corporation. Is BushCheney Inc. being run as a nonprofit corporation? I should venture to say not only no, but hell no. OK, its not doing too well as a for profit enterprise either.

The points? First, to show how the current administration is, shall we coin a new verb, Enroning this country into ruin by turning the government into a de facto corporation. Second, to point out that we can not approach this as a shareholder revolt, demanding more profits as owners. Instead, we as citizens, must demand the current charter be revoked, and insist not that a new charter be put in its place, but that the original charter, the Constitution, be used as the rulebook; not one rewritten by the lobbyists/corporations, of the lobbyists/corporations and for the lobbyists/corporations. A new board of directors was put in place last November, one with a little more willingness to consider oversight, but they, for the most part, remain a corporate body, beholden to the corporation, not the community. This is not as it should be, just as it is. In fact, ideally, the metaphors associating the government with a corporation should disappear from our vocabulary entirely.

We all know what needs to be done. It is called, in all its variations, reform. It comes from the grassroots level up, not from the corporate level down. It means being active on the personal, political, social, community or family level. It means being able to see things as they truly are, not cynically and unchangeable, but realistically and doable. It means we all educate ourselves as to both the realities and the possibilities. It means not only dreaming dreams, but making them happen. It is not for me or anyone else to say to this or that, it is for each of us individually to determine or find out what the this or that is.

Soon enough we will see and hear to whom the message is actually delivered and take our cues from there. If it is as I expect, it will end up being a message to the shareholders, the owners, the base if you will...the have mores, but maybe not. As for the rest of us? Let them eat cake comes to mind. Is this being too cynical? Perhaps, but we do have history to provide us with clues. We'll see.
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Mark Petersen has a B. A. in Speech Communications/Public Address & Rhetoric and is currently a Master of Humanities candidate in the Interdisciplinary Studies Department of Philosophy at the University of Colorado at Denver. His writing and (more...)
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