This is the first is a series of posts examining avenues available for creating change.
“I don’t live in a democracy. Corporations & lobbyists determine my future. I think I might be living in the Corporation of the United States. That’s a shock to me.” –From a recent discussion on Facebook.
In several discussions on blogs and Facebook recently, friends have bemoaned the corporatization of our government. They have concluded what I came to believe some time ago: that our elected officials are too corrupt to change the course of our nation.
The despair my friends express is overwhelming– and, I believe, inappropriate. That our elected representatives cannot or will not change does not mean change is beyond our reach. Rather, it suggests what Mohandas (“Mahatma”) Gandhi said decades ago:
“We must be the change we wish to see in the world.”
Corporations control our government. Our elected officials no longer represent us. Both conservatives and liberals gnash their teeth (and blame each other) at this now-undeniable realization.
“If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal.” — Emma Goldman
The ballot box does not appear to be the answer. Dollars speak louder than voters. So let’s vote with our dollars.
Some time back, I posted an article by Sharif Abdullah noting that Wall Street wants us to believe it is the most important market in our economy, when in fact it is the least important market. In the same way, we have come to believe we can’t survive without it, when in fact there’s very little it provides that we can’t get elsewhere.
Let us get what we need elsewhere. Corporations have so much clout because they can buy it– with money we give them every day. But by making different choices, we can limit that clout, and over time bring both money and power back into our communities.
Of course, they’ll fight it. The resurgence of locally-produced food has spawned legislative counterattacks, including NAIS and the now-pending Food Safety & Modernization Act. But that doesn’t mean we can’t win– rather, it means the corporate powers-that-be are afraid that we can.