Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Tilting at Windmills

"Would you like to help us fight Monsanto?" He was young, perhaps 19 or 20, innocent and earnest. He stood on a street corner trying to interest passersby in his quest to battle the heartless, soulless corporate monster.

In my youth I held the belief that if enough people banded together we could enact change. I engaged in protest. In a loud public voice I expressed my disapproval of 3 wars, watching these conflicts end only when it was convenient for the government and corporations involved to end them. One still persists, costing us billions of dollars and thousands of lives lost on both sides.

I now watch with a feeling of resign as politicians bicker like children while the world outside their citadels dissolve into chaos and poverty. They spend their days scrambling for power while corporations throw money at them. When they gain power they spend their time and energy attempting to maintain it.

The curious thing is that once they have power they do nothing with it. Or they create laws so ill thought out and byzantine that they only worsen the ills they were meant to alleviate. They play with people's lives like slot machine addicted gamblers while corporate interests shove quarters in their pockets allowing them to pull the levers and spin the dials endlessly.

We are now mandated to buy health insurance from profit making companies or be fined, in Washington parlance "taxed", for not doing so. I was laid off in March of 2012. It was 6 months before I could find new employment. I had a choice to make. Use the meager amount I received from unemployment to continue my health insurance, or, use it to pay my mortgage. There simply was not enough money to do both. I chose my mortgage, which, were I put in the same situation today, would mean I was breaking the law. I would be subject to a government penalty for keeping a roof over my head.

All the while the politicians argue and bicker while 25% of the children in the U.S. live in poverty. Corporations cut costs and raise their already ample profits by laying off staff and slashing the hours and pay of those they retain.

Politicians seek power for powers sake. When they acquire it they use the power to maintain it accomplishing nothing. It's like watching a hamster running an a wheel. Moving endlessly, getting nowhere.

Perhaps if we ditched our republic and formed a parliamentary form of government more varied views would be represented and perhaps compromise, by necessity would be the result. The people voted in to serve the people would actually get down to the business of serving the people.

Till then I go to work, pay my mortgage and now, health insurance premiums, partly subsidised by my employer. I take solace in art, theatre, what travel I can afford and the natural beauty of a warm summer day or the glorious colors of fall. I try to keep my personal impact on the enviorment low, using public transit and my bike whenever possible, while also trying to keep my electrical usage at a reasonable level. I attempt to do what is within my power to do.

The young man stands on the street corner, "Would you like to help us fight Monsanto?" Yes, I would, but sadly I don't know how.....besides, I'm late for work.


  1. what a sad post.
    It made me think of a Lily Tomlin quote:
    "I saw the situation and thought, gee, somebody ought to do something about this. Then I realized I was the somebody."

  2. It is hard not to feel this way sometimes.