Recently, western Washington (the genuine one here in the Pacific Northwest, not that other Washington back east where it seems to be the “trick” side of Halloween every doggone day) muddled through a long period of dense fog. Unusual for this time of year in this neck of the woods, where autumn generally finds us alternating between drenching rain, howling wind, and occasional bursts of beauty when the sun shines brightly, the changing leaves put on a dazzling display, and the air is so crisp you just want to take a big bite out of it and let the yummy juice dribble down your chin.
Come to think of it, the whole country has been fogged in ever since the fall of 2010, when corporate bigwigs decided to attempt a government coup from within by inventing the bizarre phenomenon known as the Tea Party. While the nation slumbered, assuming that those crazies depicting our President as Hitler, Stalin, or some hideous hybrid thereof were simply a passing nightmare, billionaires bent on privatizing just about everything in America for their own personal profit bought themselves a government. Or rather, an anti-government.
They paid for luridly painted buses that brought professional speakers to expensive venues to whip anti-government sentiment into a mindless frenzy. They paid for zillions of yard signs proclaiming “We the People.” Countless pocket-size copies of the Constitution were printed up and distributed to legions of angry followers who were then told how to interpret the document. “Grassroots” candidates with little or no experience in government received lavish contributions to run vapid campaigns against creeping “Socialism” and in support of the “Free Market.”
Lies were shouted by right-wing pundits so loud and long that they morphed into accepted debating points. Obama’s a Muslim. From Kenya. Just cut taxes and the “Job Creators” will save our economy. Unions are evil and workers have no rights. Neither do women. Or gays. Or immigrants. White men and the white women who follow them should run the country. Preferably white men with large bank accounts. White men with large overseas bank accounts. God forbid they should feel compelled to support the United States of America in any way. That would be Socialist coercion, right?
So now our ship of state is mired in a dense fog of corporate malfeasance, right-wing demagoguery, disastrous economic austerity, and a dumbed-down media machine that accepts lies without challenge and embraces punditry without credentials or attribution.
Bills promoting family-wage jobs, American-made products and workers’ rights remain mired in Congress. The Republicans refuse to even bring them up for a vote. After all, when they shout so loudly about protecting the Middle Class and creating jobs, why would they want to actually be on the public record actively trying to kill both?
When will this fog lift? Probably not until America removes the choking stranglehold of money from its political innards.
Corporations are not people. Money is not speech. On those two simple principles we can build a lighthouse to cut through this malicious mist.
Until then, we are all ruled by a tiny minority of religious zealots and anti-government fear mongers on a crusade to turn over control of this country from We the People over to Them the Corporations.
Originally published at Examiner.com