iOS app Android app More

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors
John Perkins

John Perkins

Posted: November 3, 2010 02:50 PM

"I don't care to belong to any club that will have me as a member". Groucho Marx

The elections are over -- and you're probably disappointed (regardless of which party or philosophy you favor). Republicans may have appeared to have won, but in fact everyone who believes in a government of, for, and by the people lost this one.

So, this is the perfect time for all of us to truly open our eyes and admit that none of our major institutions support democracy. Not the media. Not the educational, health care, insurance, or banking systems. Not business or government. All of them lead us down the path of the corporatocracy, to a state managed by big corporations.

I recall a time when laws were written by elected officials. No longer. Today they are written by lobbyists who are corporate hired guns.

I used Groucho's quote because in these days of dogged party battling on both sides, many of us feel we would rather not be a member of any party. In fact, party affiliations don't matter nearly as much as the politicians and media want you to believe. All that really matters is what we demand of those who are supposed to serve our democracy.

No one I know likes big government. But the answer is not turning government over to big corporations. No one likes big debt. Yet, let's not forget that most of the money causing that debt goes to corporations that profit from war.

I'm often asked if I think democracy is a good system in comparison to others, even with all its inherent flaws. I always answer that I unequivocally favor democracy. However, our present form of government does not meet the definition of democracy. For the reasons mentioned above. And also because democracy assumes an informed electorate. When a majority of voters (no matter which club/party they belong to) are kept in the dark about the most basic aspects of our foreign policy -- the things EHMs and jackals do, the lies about weapons of mass destruction, and the detention of uncharged prisoners -- we can not claim to be informed. When we continue to stick our heads in the sand and refuse to see that our elected officials are mere puppets of the corporations, it is time to face the fact that democracy has gone belly-up -- just like the economy.

With the recent revelations from Wikileaks, it is now sadly evident that there are many vital and disturbing facts purposefully kept from us as a nation during this wartime. Our tax dollars and our votes - no matter what the party affiliation -- serve the warmongers and the greed associated with the war economy. Just as in the days of Vietnam, we must oppose the establishment and demand peace instead of war. And we need to understand that war is driven by the corporations that profit from it. In addition to the obvious ones, these include the banking, insurance, transportation, health care, and transportation sectors.

So, if you -- like me -- are disappointed in this most recent election and if you are disgusted by all the money spent on this political version of the Superbowl, ask yourself what you can do about it. Face the answer: that you can no longer allow corporations to co-opt the democratic process. You cannot be drawn into the passion plays that both parties stage for us at the top levels in order to deflect us from awareness about the real problems in our country and with predatory capitalism.

Make it your mission to force our corporations (and the politicians who serve them) to alter their ways. In the United States we can take our most basic rights back from the corporations. We can demand the reining in of the corporatocracy and reinvigorate our true democracy. This is not simply done in a voting booth every two years.

Commit yourself to creating a new economy -- one where businesses shift their goal from "maximizing profits, regardless of the social and environmental costs" to "prospering, but only while promoting a sustainable, just and peaceful world." Join the consumer revolt of those who will only buy goods and services from companies with this goal. Become and/or support entrepreneurs who develop businesses that clean up the environment, produce sustainable energy, and feed starving people.

Encourage local businesses -- but only ones that subscribe to socially and environmentally responsible practices. Above all, work toward changing consciousness -- yours and that of everyone you contact -- to understand that business and government must both be dedicated to establishing a world every child will want to inherit.

Now, following this gladiatorial spectacle of an election, is the time for us all to stop complaining about the politicians and instead to focus our energies on taking appropriate actions.

 
 
 

Follow John Perkins on Twitter: www.twitter.com/economic_hitman