The more I step back and look at the system we have created, the more confused and angry I get. As a young child in school, I was impressed by the fact that the USA had this thing called Democracy. It seemed simple enough; we vote for people who we like and they give us what we want. When I started getting into politics and current events, I learned that there were evil right-wingers who hated anyone who wasn’t rich and white, but it was fine because the freedom-loving equal rights-fighting Democrats were there to balance things out. After another couple of years, I learned that Democrats were almost as evil as Republicans, but this didn’t bother me too much because I had a solution- a third party! If we could only organize the people who didn’t think in either Republican or Democrat, we could have three or even four choice on our ballots. Obviously, in the few years since these thoughts entered my head, they have been slowly replaced. Fuck a third party, fourth party, or even a tenth party- why do we need anyone to represent us? It astounds me that a country of more than 300 million people elects around 350 people —who most of us have never met— to make decisions that will greatly impact our lives. The fact that I am able to have this realization, while so many people will never even begin to see it, leaves me dumbfounded.
How do these people even get into the position of getting elected to represent our wishes? In order to become a household name, so that the population has a general idea of the face behind the name they’re voting for, an overabundance of dishonesty must occur. How do these people get the millions of dollars they need for a simple campaign? From companies like Halliburton, that’s how. A company like Halliburton has free reign to do whatever they want; they lie, they steal, they build faulty oil devices, they cover up rape, they cover up murder, and the list could go on and on. These immoral acts lead to billions of dollars in profit (usually dished out to a handful of rich white men) and eventually some kind of Congressional investigation. However, while making billions, they make sure to put enough money in the hands of the right people.( Check out the above article to see what I mean.) Obviously, Halliburton isn’t the only corporation to do this; each politician is actually in the pocket of many, many different companies. When a Congressional investigation comes along, each and every elected representative knows that if she or he pushes too hard or digs too deep, their reelection campaigns will be greatly affected. What happens then?
This cycle has been reoccurring since the beginning of politics and yet the vast majority of us continue to fall for it. Every person is angry at BP for the mess of April 20th (although the anger seems to be subsiding as time goes by), but it’s so much bigger than that. Like hurricane Katrina or the messes in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan, people have been predicting this disaster for years. I wont’ go through all the statistics, but read the above article. However, the CEO of BP tells us that things are fine, it was just a mistake. Then politicians tell us that BP is bad, they fucked up royally, and they will be punished. Most of us take these people at their word and go on with our every day lives, knowing that these rich white men wouldn’t do anything to hurt us, after all, they do represent us , and, of course, they must have our best interests at heart. Some of us will see through this and boycott BP gas stations. Some will go a step further and conduct research into what other companies BP owns and who (like Halliburton) contributed to this disaster, and boycott all of them. Does this actually accomplish anything?
Again, it all comes down to realizing our own power. I’m not saying we shouldn’t boycott these companies, but it’s so much more than that. Why does a system which allows these things to happen and go basically unpunished time and time again, even exist. It has been proven repeatedly by hundreds of different people, that this system kills, yet we still allow it to continue— even flourish. As long as we can have a roof over our heads, maybe a nice car in the driveway, and we get to eat steak every once in awhile, the vast majority of us will keep our blinders on to what is happening. Fuck boycotting BP- stop driving a car, stop shopping at places that you are uneducated about; build your own little ‘what-if’ life and encourage others to do the same. Stop voting- if something needs to be changed, let’s get together and change it. I know this seems very naïve (and of course it is), but that doesn’t mean it’s not possible.