I made this meme today, because setting all of the craziness aside from the past few weeks, this really is what it all boils down to. Reports now reinforce this; that the eight (8) wealthiest individuals have the equivalent wealth of 50% of the rest of the earth's entire population.
At this point, it really is true, that the only way for these wealth hoarders to grow their wealth, is by reducing the wealth of the rest of us. It is no accident that workers are laid off, or plants closed so stock holders and corporate executives can make record earnings in a single year or quarter. It is no coincidence that American healthcare costs skyrocket every year, while pharmaceutical and insurance CEO's and stockholders pocket billions of dollars. Neither is it a coincidence that the wealthy have targeted our last bastion of real wealth for the working classes, in the form of our pensions and our social security benefits.
The same owning classes are not only personally appalled by any worker's demands for higher wages, or benefits they have been promised AND already earned, but somehow manage to divide the working classes by shifting the blame to the workers themselves. And it almost always works.
Imagine that instead of money or wealth, that we were talking about m&m's. I know, this is a stupid analogy, but I love m&m's, so humor me. You are a hard working average American family, and you have a pile of m&m's that you have busted your ass to accumulate. It isn't much, but it is yours. You earned it. You only want enough m&m's to take care of yourself and your family, have a few m&m's to enjoy in your golden years, and maybe a couple to give to your children when you die. That's it. That's all you want.
But then, across town there is some family with only one m&m. They need more m&m's just to get to where you are. There is a constant m&m crisis at their house, and it seems like their aren't enough m&m's in the whole world to go around.
And then there is this asshole. His dad left him enough m&m's to fill six Olympic swimming pools. It is more m&m's than he could ever eat. His grandchildren and great grandchildren could swim in their m&m piles for their entire lives. But, it isn't enough for him. It is never enough. Never. He ALWAYS wants more.
He looks out at the world from atop his mountain of m&m's and sees there are only two ways to get more. He can make more m&m's, and he can take the ones that we have. That's it. That's what he must do, and he will stop at absolutely nothing to do it.
He uses some of his m&m's to buy off politicians and get rights to things that belong to a nation and a world and all of the people in it. Timber rights. Mineral rights. Oil rights.
He strips the land of all of its wealth and makes more m&m's. He says it is good for the economy, and good for jobs and good for workers, and he is hailed as a respectable hero in a capitalist system.
He sends men deep into the ground to pull out anything of monetary value. Anything that will get him more. He does not care how many men will die in the process. He sees these men as only an inconvenience standing in the way of profit, not unlike so much brush and overburden he has cleared away. And he is hailed as a respectable hero in a capitalist system.
And when he is through, the water will be unfit to drink. The air will be unsuitable to breathe. The men and women he employed will be unemployed again. And so many people will suffer for the want of the most basic necessities of life. He will add more m&m's to his pile, and shrug and walk away from it all. And none of it was ever his to begin with. Not the m&m's. Not the land. Not the trees. Not the minerals. Not the oil. Not the labor. None of it. It is the wealth and labor of the entire world, hoarded by the collective few to the grave detriment of us all. And he is hailed as a respectable hero in a capitalist system.
Then he turns his sights to what little m&m's we have, even though in this process, he ran away with a million more m&m's for every one that we got. He had promised there would m&m's in our retirement years if only we went into that ground for him, or cut those trees for him, or entered that data for him. He promised or bargained and owed us for our labor. But he found that he could keep those m&m's too. He could have a little more if we had less. So, he took them. He cheated us out of them. Through markets and through company sales, and through pension thefts and privatization schemes, he got those too and wants ever more.
He is smart though. He is savvy. He knows that he can't keep this up, because he has so much and the masses have so very little. So, he uses some of his m&m's to give to churches. Religious leaders go out and say that he is good and righteous, and their church is good and righteous, and more righteous than every other church and religion. And the people are divided and awaiting unlimited m&m's in some fantastical afterlife where subservience and labor here and now is richly rewarded.
And he gives more m&m's to buy television shows and news networks and newspapers and radio stations and politicians. They say that he is good and righteous, and blame the world's woes on those with just that one m&m. They tell the people that were it not for those Have Not souls wanting more, that there would plenty. His aim is always to divide us. Through belief. Through religion. Through race. Through minor economic differences.
There are countless books and television shows praising Him. No matter that he pays his employees minimum wages and provides no benefits to a thousand workers while living like a king and producing nothing. LOOK at how he gives $10,000 to a few at the end of the show! Or LOOK that he has given a million dollars to some charity! No matter how many have labored and suffered to earn him a thousand times that amount. He is a savior! Isn't this what Jesus would look like?
He has made himself into a cult of personality. His children are the envy of all of ours. They are like Gods and Goddesses. Kings and Queens. There is nothing they cannot buy. No one they cannot influence. And then...
Their cult of personality purchased influence ascends beyond simply controlling our highest officials, to becoming them. And would be heroes of the working classes (union officials) stand in line for the opportunity to beg him for crumbs. Just a few m&m's for us, they say, and we'll look the other way about everything else.
And all of it was generously made possible by each and every one of us. Because the misogyny, the racism, the angst against immigrants, the terror of fret that some Have Not might be benefiting from OUR m&m's somehow, has all led right up to the here and now.
There is no real division between the aims of the owning classes. Their aim is ONLY to get more at ANY cost. And we have descended to a place where traditional political discourse and our political system may be near irreparably broken.
When everything is a lie. When every news story is suspect. When no one is a credible witness. When truth no longer matters. When wrong is right, and right is suspect. Can it really be a "democracy" any more? If the only thing you know is what I tell you, can you ever make a real choice about the opposition?
And is there even a real difference between our political "choices" when both are rich, both are overwhelmed with moneys from wealthy donors who will have their ears, and no one from the lower economic classes are ever even included in the dialogue beyond a few town hall election events?
No one knows what the future is going to bring. There are some of us that are even beginning to wonder if the nation, and the world, will not be forever changed by just one presidential term. And many would like us to believe that our future lies solely in the next election cycle.
I disagree. In this Lesser of Two Evils political world, isn't it time we all started investing in something better? For all of us? Not sure what that is? Me neither entirely. But I do know this for an absolute fact. ANYTHING better for the rest of us, and the future of our world, will depend upon our ability to recognize that our differences are few and minor when compared to the wealthiest classes.
The fate of the family earning $180,000 per year is tied by fate to the success or failure of the family earning $30,000 per year because we are all wage earners, our futures dictated by the whims and desires of those who only seek to relieve us all of our burdensome m&m holdings. With Him, we share absolutely nothing in common.