I came of age in the 80s. Once upon a time, I truly believed that we, as a race and a nation, were destined to destroy our planet in a nuclear frenzy. It scared me. Trying to imagine what the future might be like after the bombs dropped.
Well, as we all know, that particular end of the world didn't come to pass. Despite Ronnie Raygun's best efforts to the contrary, we stepped back from the edge. But today, something has happened in our country that brings back those days of waiting for the bombs to drop. I find myself wondering more and more if this country is going to survive. If what it is slowly morphing into will be a place worth living in.
Today, the Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 to lift a ban on corporate funded political advertisements. Now, Exxon will get to spend whatever they want to flood the airwaves with ads in support of John Cornyn (R-TX). Or perhaps the MGM Mirage can bump up its giving to Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and make sure he knows just where they stand. Maybe Hilary Clinton would have won the Presidential nomination if the insurance companies had been able to throw more money her way. As it was, she was the number 3 recipient of Insurance company largesse in 2008. (McCain was number one and Obama was number 2.)
While I waited for the bombs to fall in the 80s, I did a lot a reading. A certified geek even then, I read a good bit of the Masters of Science Fiction, primarily Robert Heinlein. Heinlein's novel Friday is particularly prescient. In it, the Earth is in chaos. The US is broken up into several small nation-states but most importantly, the Internationals, as Heinlein calls the corporations that wield enormous power, are winning the war to control the planet. With their own private armies and financial deep pockets they're able to have substantial control of the planet. It's a dark tale but one that seems ever more possible. This is just one possible future that Heinlein gives us. Another is a theocracy that suspends the constitution.
We teeter on the edge. I can see both of these futures as growing possibilities. On one hand, we have the growing influence of the Chrisitanists and their open desire for a world that's ruled by a US led-Christian empire. On the other, we see every day how corporate interests and corporate money influence our politicians and government. With this SCOTUS ruling, we're one step closer to Heinlein's Internationals. Neither future is one that I particularly want to live in, since I would most likely fall into the "undesirable" category for both.
There is only one way to defeat these trends. We must vote. Before we vote, we must educate ourselves. No matter how disappointed we may be with the way things are going in Washington, we must believe that we can do something about it. Write letters, send emails, support the organizations that you believe stand the best chance at countering the trend. Teach your children that having a brain and using it, doesn't make you the enemy. It just makes you educated.
Both the Christianists and the Internationals want us to be naive, uninformed boobs who they can tell what to believe and what to do. It is up to us to stop them.