By s.i. wells
Abraham Lincoln wrote these words to conclude his Gettysburg Address:
…that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
As we watch the great debates of our day before the House of Representatives and the Senate, one must begin to wonder if Lincoln’s fight has been lost. Can we truly say that our government is “of the people, by the people, for the people” as corporate titans in healthcare and banking grease the wheels of government with a never-ending supply of contributions in order to manipulate the outcome of our legislative process? As the winds of change ushered in by Barack Obama have encountered the brick walls of corporate influence, it becomes harder and harder to see how “the people” can control the workings of their government. Special interests appear to be on steroids attempting to block or shape legislation aimed at healthcare for all or at banking reforms to prevent “too big to fail” banks from gambling with the people’s money.
Our government has a long history of getting the short end of the stick when it suits corporate America. For example, take flood insurance. The property and casualty insurance industry figured out how to move that potential liability off their books and transfer it to the Federal government. And, health insurance carriers are no different. They have long profited from the idea of excluding the sick, the old and those with pre-existing conditions and pushing the risks onto State and Federal programs and the costs onto hospitals and doctors while insuring that their bottom lines shine like new $20 gold eagles.
As this economy “recovers” and steps away from the economic abyss, one would hope that those in control of the power of government, as vested in them by “the people,” would take a moment and consider the consequences of their actions. After all, how many votes can Citibank or Chase or Bank of America cast next November? It should not be the corporations that elect, but the people. Of course, if the people are asleep at the switch or so victimized by demagoguing politicians that they fail to act, so be it. As a man sows, so shall he reap.
So the question I pose is: “WHO OWNS AMERICA?” and what are we going to do about it. Either this is a government of the people, by the people, for the people or it is not. Watching and listening to the process of government as lobbyists manipulate the debates over healthcare and financial systems reform, it is nearly impossible to conclude that “We, the People” have the deed to our country. We have the debts, but not the assets. How we arrived at this moment in history, however, is less of importance than how we get out of here.
If you believe it is time to foreclose on Washington before Washington bankrupts us all, please send these thoughts to everyone you know. Now is the time to take back our government from the special interests, from the bankers and from the insurance companies and to celebrate the “new birth of freedom” that was so clearly envisioned by Abraham Lincoln.