Politicians are kind of like poets: It’s not what they say; it’s what they don’t say.
The difference is this: Poets will give you a concrete image or a specific, and invite you to apply it to the universe and reality, the good and the bad. The universal shines through the particular, Aristotle believed. The country songwriter Tom T. Hall said you can’t write a song about ecology; you have to write about an empty beer can.
Politicians, however, will ply you with their alleged good specifics and the opponents’ bad to evil ones. They want you to apply that to the universe. And they don’t want you to even think about reality.
Through two weeks of Republican and Democratic propaganda, no one spoke of how they have failed us, or their low esteem in the polls. Only the possible worst of them, George W. Bush, suddenly and briefly became a decent politician: he didn’t show up at the Republican soiree, recognizing and silently signaling his failure through his absence. If only the others had joined him.
Here are five specific issues, five vital realities, they wouldn’t dare discuss concretely in their droning words. We should consider these in questioning whether America needs either of these men as president, or if you should keep your current Congressmember and senators in office. Also, there are two solutions for taking back control of your country, maybe.
You’ve heard of all these issues before, but have you considered them all together? They all are linked, both in this column and in reality. Each of these specific areas seems to be growing dire. So, if you care, you’ll see a lot of red links to click and read. If you don’t care, then just accept what you get in the coming four years.
First the five realities you’ll surely be facing with the next president and Congress:
Humans are made up of 60 percent water. The number of humans on earth is increasing, now at 7.04 billion, and projected to grow.
The earth’s fresh water is decreasing. The world’s aquifers are being diminished faster than nature can refill them.
The earth’s water is 97 percent ocean, salt water. China is looking at investing as much as $31 billion in desalination. America has invested $1 trillion in foreign military invasions but trails in desalination efforts. That needs to change.
Eighty percent of the nation’s fresh water is used for agriculture, both crops and livestock. If population is growing and fresh water is diminishing, then logically humans will have less food to eat. We’re seeing this now in a worldwide drought the pols try not to talk about. Did you hear Obama or Romney talk about solutions for this?
Scientists said last month the world should look to a future as vegetarians, since there won’t be enough water and crops to supply food for livestock and humans both. (I’ll have a No. 5 veggie burger with fries, please…No, make that a No. 3 veggie burger.)
But there’s a problem with veggies: Genetically modified organisms (GMOs), i.e. the recombining of a plant’s DNA. Controversies abound over GMOs and food.
European countries and China have outlawed Monsanto‘s and other firms’ GMOs in food. India and Latin America are seeing a battle between traditional farming and corporate proliferation, including Monsanto’s GMOs in corn and soybeans, patenting of seeds and purchase of seed companies. Farmers in the U.S. have legally battled alleged intimidation by Monsanto.
The United States government, since at least George H.W. Bush, has catered to Monsanto and GMOs. In fact, Obama appointed former Monsanto VP Michael Taylor as America’s food czar, who is supposed to be our protector.
But an effort has begun in the U.S. to at least find out if GMOs are in our food. California’s November ballot includes a proposition requiring labeling of foods to show any GMO contents. Monsanto and other corporations are spending millions in opposing the proposal. What does that tell you about the safety of GMO food?
The world-meaning humans’ homes, governments and businesses-operates on energy. Oil, natural gas, vehicular gas. Electricity from water (yes, water again), solar and wind, and nuclear.
America daily consumes as much oil as the industrial world’s next five largest countries COMBINED.
The American military accounts for 93 percent of the U.S. government’s energy consumption, mostly through invading foreign countries to control oil and gas resources, though our government calls it expanding democracy.
We’ve seen deadly problems with nuclear accidents: Russia’s Chernobyl in 1986 and Japan’s Fukushima Daini disaster in March 2011. Scientists are still researching environmental problems resulting from both.
U.S. nuclear-energy plants continue to age, bringing growing environmental concerns. The Great Lakes’ shores alone are encircled by 37 aging nuclear power plants. Others operate near major metropolitan areas like New York City.
4. Military-industrial complex
War hero and Republican President Dwight Eisenhower was the caring leader who warned us about the military-industrial complex. We’ve seen deadly, torturous specifics of its proliferation under Bush, more under Obama and you can expect more under Romney. Neither Obama nor Romney touched these in their speeches. Surprised? These will include:
a. Continuing of endless war, war profiteering and weapons sales, and drones. Leon Pinetta, our Secretary of Defense, hopes to expand this.
b. Further eliminating of Human Rights – Killing without trial, spying without warrant, secret prisons, private prisons, quelling government whistle blowers.
c. Expandng police state-massive surveillance, quelling protests, controlling cyberspace and society.
5. Personal and Economic Health
You can’t really separate these since one affects the other. Candidates tell you they want to turn the depressed economy around. But they don’t want to truly regulate the big banks, or separate the commercial and investment banks as Congress did under the Glass-Steagall Act in the ’30s. In fact, Congress overturned it in the ’90s, leading to the 2008 economic meltdown and today’s depression.
And they don’t want to discuss with you dissolution of the middle class, America’s nearly trillion-dollar credit card debt, America’s trillion-dollar student loan debt, or American homeowners who were supposed to get relief from the bailout, but didn’t.
How can YOU solve this? You’ll have to get organized, get educated, and get active so you can implement these:
1. Take back Congress:
You must take control of your Congressional delegation. Why? Because Congress controls the federal government’s purse strings. Without money, a president can’t invade foreign countries or support the military-industrial complex or growing police state.
How do you fight the multi-national corporations and their Washington lobbyists? You vote, and you convince others in your Congressional district to vote with you.
Actually, Ralph Nader explained it about as simply as one can in a 2007 speech:
Each of you lives in a Congressional district. Each of you has two senators and a Congress member who you pay to serve you.
The average Congressional district consists of about 600,000 Americans. Research shows that, of those 600,000 Americans, about 2,000 truly affect your legislators’ votes on funding, laws and regulations. YOU need to be one of those 2,000.
You can do that, can’t you? Sure you can. Your future and your children’s future depend on it.
2. Constitutional right of petition:
If you don’t replace your senators and Congressmember, or if they won’t serve you but keep serving the president and military-industrial behemoth, you will need to exercise your right of petition to pass or change laws. This link is a look at that process. It’s slow and arduous. But the Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan invasions have been too.
If Solutions 1 and 2 don’t work, history shows you’ll see the securing of totalitarianism, or violent revolution. And we know where that leads by looking at Russia a century ago and currently in the Middle East.
Can’t happen in America? That depends on whether you get organized, get educated, and get active.