BENEATH THE SPIN • ERIC L. WATTREE
I thought my activist days were behind me. But as a creature of the 60's, it's just not in my nature to turn my back on injustice and the exploitation of the weak. Thus, in last week's column I mentioned the creation of CARMA (Citizens Against Reckless Middle-Class Abuse). CARMA is currently building it's database, but once we've attained sufficient numbers to make an impact on the system, we're going to lay OUR law down on the political establishment - and that means BOTH political parties.
While the Republican Party is undoubtedly guilty of obstructionism, the Democratic Party is equally guilty of allowing it to happen. Both parties are engaged in a game of "good-cop-bad-cop" in order to maintain the status quo. The Republican party is doing everything it can to undermine the interest of the working class, then the Democrats will throw us a bone and come back wringing their hands saying, "Well, we tried - can you send us a little more money?"
That's a bunch of crap. They're not trying, and that's what's got everybody up in arms. The only time they've managed to come to a nonpartisan consensus was in the decision to bail out Wall Street. When it comes to addressing the needs of the American people, however, they haggle for months until the bill is watered down to nothing.
Congress was whining over the impact of extending unemployment for 26 weeks to jobless Americans. They complained that it would add $33.9 Billion to the deficit. Yet, they're fighting to extend Bush's tax cut for the richest 2% of the population, which, in its entirety, will add $4.4 TRILLION to the deficit. They also just authorized $37 billion to go shoot at rocks in Afghanistan - and that's in spite of the fact that a DOD audit indicates that $8.7 billion simply disappeared in Iraq.
And where do you think all of those dollars went? Well, here's a hint. The bottom 50% of the nation's population now only own 1% of the nation's wealth. So, I don't know about you, but it's clear to me where these "Houdini funds" ended up, and it's also clear to me why so many in congress insist on keeping these wars raging - and all on the back of the poor and middle class, I might a add.
The richest 2% of this country have a great scam going for themselves. The poor and the middle class provide all the sacrifice, while the rich reap all the benefits. Our tax money is funding the wars and our children are providing the human cannon fodder, while the rich are reaping windfall profits and we're paying their taxes. Then, as the most ironic of all ironies, they call us greedy socialists when we ask for a crumb to feed our families. What a scam!
But we're no longer going to play that game. If congress can't manage to carry out its responsibility to the American people with integrity, we need a different group of people in congress. So CARMA is designed to be a different kind of organization. Unlike many organizations, our primary reason for existence is getting results, not raising money. We're only about raising three things - raising voices, raising votes, and raising hell. We don't need your money, because we're not going to give politicians a penney of bribe money. They're already being paid - in fact, much more than they're worth. So we're going to MAKE them do their jobs. If they don't, we're getting rid of them with the use of pure and unmitigated human outrage.
It wasn't money that made the administration so anxious to fire Shirley Sherrod that they made her pull over on the side of the road, it was the administration's weak-kneed fear of public outrage. They were afraid that Glenn Beck was going to call the administration racist. Then after the true facts were revealed, it wasn't money that had the administration crawling back to Ms. Sherrod trying to apologize - it was that very same weak-kneed fear of bad publicity.
If it were not for the fear of public outrage Shirley Sherrod would be at home licking the wounds of her injustice and trying to file an EEO like the thousands of gainfully employed postal workers who are literally being robbed of their wages with impunity on a daily basis. So the Sherrod episode clearly demonstrates what this political system is all about. It demonstrates that in order to obtain justice in this country it's not enough to simply be right, you must also have the ability to become a political embarrassment. In short, the only ones who can expect a change they can believe in are those with the clout to make it a change that they can demand - and that's what CARMA is about, gaining the attention of the corporate press and shining a light upon injustice. Only then will the rest of America's workers receive the immediate justice that Ms. Sherrod had the good fortune to enjoy.
Thus, CARMA is convinced that we can have an impact on this corrupt system with just the clout of human capital alone - with the raised voices and focused outrage of dedicated activists. If we can grow our numbers enough to gain the attention of the corporate media and make enough noise to get the attention of the average voter, all the corporate money in the world will be rendered meaningless.
So please, urge all of the sincere activists among family, friends, and associates to join this effort to bring focus to our mutual concerns. We can do this! - and we're going to do it.
We don't need one voice speaking for millions; we need millions speaking with one voice.
Eric L. Wattree
Religious bigotry: It's not that I hate everyone who doesn't look, think, and act like me - it's just that God does.