There’s a lot of noise flying around today over a Congressional vote that rejected slightly-stricter gun ownership laws—specifically, an expansion of background checks. What’s funny about it (if “funny” can be ironically twisted into an applicable adjective to describe the resulting mess) is that while the actual Bill itself was actually a pretty feeble stab at the unstoppable might of the all-powerful gun lobby— and despite the fact that it had already been stripped of its teeth weeks ago to squeeze it through the House— it STILL couldn’t pass the Senate.
Partisan pundits on both sides are loudly screaming about it (which is— in their defense— precisely what they get paid to do). Hardcore Righties guffawingly shoot the POTUS the rhetorical middle finger, mocking his widely-publicized (though ineffectual) efforts to push the Bill through. The hardcore Left is responding with their usual hand-wringing and accusatory demonization of the Conservative Right, to their favorite tune “what about the victims?” And so it goes. Business as usual.
But what makes this vote notable is that the Gun Lobby may have strategically erred; it might have been wiser to let this one pass. By so easily slapping down that Bill, in defiance of the polled 80%+ of American citizens who support better background checks—and by doing it for no better reason than to greedily prevent certain types of free range gun sales from drying up— the 11 billion-dollar-a-year gun industry has done the unthinkable: they have allowed the American public a vivid glimpse of the man behind the curtain.
A lot of people now see who really controls their government, and it’s not them. The corporatization of America goes all the way to the top.
Two tragic disasters this week— first the bombing at the Boston Marathon, then the industrial explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, TX— have further darkened the national horizon. I am aghast as such destruction… yet I wonder: if that big a pile of fertilizer can explode with such force, why hasn’t the rampant bullshit in Washington DC blown the Capitol Dome into orbit by now?
OF COURSE Washington is under the thrall of big money. That’s what corporations do: they convert hard assets into disconnected units of indeterminate value, which get sold, traded, and manipulated by any means necessary to artificially inflate that value, the excess of which gets siphoned off the top as dividends by the shareholders. It turns a company— or a government— into a money mine.
It also places real control (ownership) in the hands of shareholders who cannot legally be held responsible for the actions of the corporation itself; that makes it possible for a company to be operated unprofitably, and lose huge amounts of money, yet STILL make money for the shareholders. Corporatization supports the abdication of personal responsibility in pursuit of profit.
Why bother to break the law if you can write the laws you want and pay to get them ratified? Or casually strike down any regulations that might threaten your bottom line? We bemoan “gun culture” and “rape culture,” but aren’t both really just ugly symptoms of American “fantasy” culture? We live in a dream world, paying a trillion dollars a year for our media to tell us what we want to hear, while corporations grind us up to fuel their machines.
The American Dream is becoming exactly that. One day we may wake up; until then, the Matrix has us.