We Could Fight Back – if We Had the Will

Sometimes, I feel hopeless. Today, for example. It could be because my sugar has been stubbornly high the past few days. Or because I have just been told that I might possibly have to undergo open-heart surgery. But there’s more to it than that. I think it’s the news that’s got me down.

I’m not talking just about man’s inhumanity to man – or more often, it seems, to woman. The news of the day teems with brutality and horror. Terrifying crimes, devastating accidents, bitter disputes …

Is it that tragedies have become more common? Or is it that the media have become more proficient at showcasing them?

Whatever the reason, it’s certainly depressing.

Still, it’s not nearly as depressing as the long-term trends I’ve been reading about this morning. In one article, I am treated to an update on an impending global trade agreement giving corporations virtually unlimited power – which is supported by the Obama Administration. Hard to believe that a president who seems so benign would be party to such a diabolical scheme. Surely, he would not willingly surrender America’s authority to maintain its own environmental, industrial and commercial regulations?

Is the article accurate? Impossible to know. The secrecy surrounding the looming deal – known as the TransPacific Partnership – is apparently impenetrable, at least to ordinary folks like me.

Another writer details the staggering gap between America’s super-rich and the rest of us. The 400 richest families have more money than the bottom 60 percent of the population, according to this article. And the lucky few are hard put to find ways to spend their money.

What’s even more discouraging is that the gap is growing wider.

And the people with the money are not the best and brightest, but the most socially and politically advantaged – regardless of merit.

Can we fight back? We must. But how?

We have the vote, of course. But apathy and disinformation combine to dilute the effectiveness of this historic weapon. We go to the polls – if we go – full of confusion and lies, false “facts” and empty promises.

In this dark mood, I am tempted to suggest some kind of consumer strike.

Perhaps the only way to get the attention of the powers that be is to reject the consumer culture, to resist the allure of the latest smart phone or video game, to wear last year’s fashions, to switch off the TV and radio, shut down the computer, tweet no more and let Facebook go dark for a while.

We could even buy fewer groceries. In addition to flexing our political muscle, it might even be healthier for us.

If we stop spending our pennies, the dollars of the rich will eventually be worthless. If we only had the will.

Click here to read about the trade deal.

Click here to read about the rich.