It’s Memorial Day weekend so I want to thank all of our veterans to whom we owe a great debt. I honor their patriotism to our nation and I believe on Memorial Day only veterans should be off work for the holiday. That has been a pet peeve of mine for some time now. Again bless all of you vets.
Have a Little Patriotism and be Willing to Die for Corporations
I want to talk about another way Americans can be patriotic to who runs our country. That would be corporations. You can be patriotic to the corporations by blindly supporting them. After all right after 9/11 the first thing President Bush said, was to go shopping. Doesn’t that prove to you that supporting the corporations is what this country is now based on?
In January of 2009 six people died and 501 people were sick in more than 43 states because of salmonella in peanut butter. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found that on 12 occasions in 2007 and 2008, Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) sent out peanut butter containing salmonella.
Cribs have been recalled because of the death of two infants. One U.S. child died and 19 others have needed surgery since 2003 after swallowing magnets used in Polly Pocket toys. Chinese toys containing lead paint have been recalled. Last year the US government forced China to have 467 recalls which set a record. In the United States, over 50,000 children under age 5 are treated each year in emergency rooms for injuries from recalled products An average of 87 children die from these injuries each year. In 2007 thousands of pets died before contaminate pet food was recalled.
Go back a decade and we had as many as 250 deaths and more than 3000 catastrophic injuries associated with defective Firestone tires. Most of the problem tires came from Firestone’s factory in Decatur, Illinois, which had quality problems from 1994-1996 when the factory was being run by scabs brought in during a labor dispute. Several former workers testified before a congressional committee about long work hours and emphasis on quantity over quality.
The first thing Firestone did after the recall was look for a company spokesperson, like a popular celebrity from the entertainment or sports world to put a good spin on the company. Then because the recall cost them so much money they increased their prices by 3 to 5%. I’m surprised the advertising department at Firestone didn’t put a spin on the whole fiasco and come up with the slogan, “Firestone Tires: the perfect gift to buy your mother-in-law.” Maybe they could have market the tires to daredevil types and their slogan could have been, “Not only will our tires not make their 30,000 mile lifespan,they may shorten your lifespan.”
I have to ask, why should anyone care if corporate America is putting all our lives at risk? So what if faulty products are killing people? What a bunch of crybabies. Why does everything always have to be about you? Think of all the stress these recalls are putting on corporate America. Let’s not forget the legislators who had to put on a dog and pony investigation because of the public outcry of Firestone victims’ families. These poor legislators were caught between the voters who hired them and the corporations who own them.
If the public really cared about deaths, injuries and injustices caused by corporations, they would have stood up to corporate America a long time ago and elected a consumer advocate like Nader for president. Instead, the majority of the public continues to support politicians who push a corporate agenda that puts corporate greed over public need. That includes agendas like tort reform, deregulation, the weakening of both labor and environmental laws and support for trade agreements like NAFTA and GATT. All politicians claim to be family-friendly and support “family values.” That is unless those family values clash with legislators being business friendly. The businesses end up being in the driver’s seat and the public ends up being crash test dummies. If legislators really were public servants, instead of corporate servants they would respect the interest of their constituents and not pass trade legislation like NAFTA and GATT that the majority of Americans were opposed to.
Are we going to continue to let our “representatives” take care of corporations at the expense of our resources, health, environment, communities and morals? Candidates for office spew out a mantra calling for smaller government, what they really want is more corporate controlled government in this country. Because of the WTO and the World Bank, the tentacles of this corporate controlled government are going to strangle the world in the interest of globalization, putting all our lives at risk.
The truth is that corporations put profits before people. I’m not going to let the consumers off the hook because they put low prices before morals and human rights. People will shop at Wal-Mart and Sam’s Clubs believing they are getting cheaper prices. The low prices also mean no unions and low wages so consumers are paying social services for the working poor that work at these big box stores. Not to mention that Wal-Mart and Sam’s discriminates against women getting into management positions. Also the low prices led to US companies locating in overseas sweatshops to meet the prices Wal-Mart demanded to pay for their goods. You can go to church all you want but you violate the morals of all religions when you do business with immoral companies. It’s hard to kick companies like Nike in the ass when you are wearing Air Jordans.
While our economy is in trouble it’s a good time to demand a more humane economy. Take the first step and use responsibility when you shop. From within to the outside that is how things change.