When there are no consequences to transgressions, immorality and corruption become norms. As we witness Wall Street yet again teetering and the Federal Government in shutdown mode, it is evident that we are led by the lawless in DC and gamblers in Manhattan. Our politics and economy has been commandeered by people who benefit the more society suffers.
While hundreds of thousands of government workers are beset by financial anxieties, unsure when they will get their next paychecks, our elected officials are getting paid in full. Meanwhile, Wall Street continues to play with house money knowing that tax payers will foot the bill when they demolish the markets eventually.
Parents understand the value of punishment; if kids are given free rein to act without repercussions, what sets in is anarchy and kids who become little monsters. This is the exact phenomenon that has enveloped our nation’s capital and executive offices throughout fortune 500 corporations, lawmakers and tycoons are acting with impunity and bear zero cost for their dereliction.
Too big to fail is now too rich to care; the aristocracy have commandeered government and commerce alike and the citizenry have been turned into passive observers. The idea that we have a representative democracy in America is about as laughable as Donald Trump bragging that he will make Mexico pay for the wall. Congress might as well have a sign on the door knob that reads “reserved for millionaires only”. According to Open Secrets, out of 533 members, 271 have more than seven figures in their reserves and the median net worth of a Congressman or woman is $1,029,505 as of 2013. Do you think this represents the life of regular Americans?
The situation at the Executive Branch is even more egregious when it comes to the disconnect between average Americans and the trappings of opulence that is found at the White House. After eight years of the first bank president Obama, who was elected promising hope and change only to leave us hopeless and change in our pockets, a billionaire was foisted upon. Trump promised to make America great again but two years of his “leadership” has witnessed our country being decimated into shambles and teetering on the edge.
The depravities taking place in the District of Columbia pales in comparison to the excesses enjoyed by the Wall Street CEO cartel. While the wages and savings of working class and middle-class workers have stagnated—in a lot of cases regressed—over the past three decades, the wealth of the top .01% has taken off like a hypersonic missile. The average CEO makes more than 271 times the average earnings of blue collar and white collar workers. While the vast majority of Americans are one or two missed paychecks away from homelessness, Wall Street executives are living like sultans.
In 2008, after Wall Street gamblers cratered our economy and disposed tens of millions of Americans of their homes and their life savings, they were bailed out by our government and encouraged to go back at it again. Token regulations and taps on the wrists were doled out while CEOs were given golden parachutes and enriched beyond their wildest imaginations. They are back at it again as the markets are on the verge of another implosion; Democrats and Republicans are dithering while America burns. #2Rich2Care Click To Tweet
There are two things that keep people honest and prevent them from running amok. One is morality and the other is the fear of retaliation. Seeing that we are being led by people who have the ethics of Caligula, the only other thing the gentry fear is an insurrection. Alas, we have rendered our power moot because we are too addicted to politics to understand the true source of our power—unity. As long as we bicker among ourselves and feed into the false choices presented to us by the duopoly, we will keep voting for change and keep getting the same results.
In the past five years, there have been four government shutdowns—three this year alone! A Congress and a President that are off work more than the are on, are now playing hardball by taking Americans hostage. While they sit back and continue to get paid, countless Americans are feeling the blow back of their seditious acts. In business, you pay for what you get. But in American politics, we pay even when we don’t receive. The only winners in this farcical circus that is painted as government is are the politicians, pundits and the plutocrats who own both.
Trump and Pelosi are currently blaming one another over who owns the shutdown and taunting each other like toddlers—this is what passes off as leadership. The truth is that neither own the shutdown because elected officials or corporate titans do not feel the pain for the hell they are unleashing. While they are sipping Chablis in their gated communities, it is us—the people—who feel the heat for the dereliction of our government and Wall Street. We own the shutdown and we too will be asked to own the mess when the US economy implodes in 2019.
Those things we consume without thought will eventually consume our thoughts::
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Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Lij Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Lij Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.