Bernie Sanders said we risk becoming a banana republic. So just what is a Banana Republic?
This is a term that developed along with the exploitation of small central american countries by large multinational fruit companies and came to mean the countries that were willing to sellout their own long term health and sustainability for the many in favor of short term minimal profit for the few. It is the kind of country with a regime in place that consistently subjugates and oppresses the poor while systematically strip mining the common resources, the real wealth of the nation, and selling it to the highest bidder while seeing to it that the profits go not to the citizens of the country but to the corporations that do the exploiting, with a few local cronies thrown included to see to it the wheels of plunder stay greased.
So what are the qualities found in such a society? Do we find them here in the good ole US of A?
1. Massive income inequity, the US has some of the worst in the world and it's getting worse.
2. Limits to free speech, the recent attacks on and prosecution of whistleblowers and free speech websites like WIKILeaks points out our unwillingness to allow free speech to undermine the activities of the ruling elite.
3. An erosion of independent Journalism and an acceptance of propaganda, all the major media outlets are now owned by for profit multinational corporations. What they call news is at it's most benign heavily censored, and at it's worse out and out corporate propaganda. Few citizens seem to realize that they have to search for journalism that is even close to objective. It is underfunded and marginalized by the corporations that own the space.
4. Substandard educational system, we have long since stopped producing the brightest and the best. Our schools are overcrowded, terribly underfunded, under constant attack from religious fundamentalists to censor content, and now under pressure to serve the needs of corporations rather than to produce well rounded citizens capable of critical thought and fully in command of the basics of the scientific method, a understanding of history, and the variety of philosophical tradition. Few of our citizens don't even understand the value of civil, polite, and intelligent debate much less the methods for engaging in such.
5. Lack of access of to health care, we may have the ability to deliver decent world class healthcare but we are certainly not allowing it to be delivered to our citizens in any sort of rational or efficient manner. We are allowing multinational corporations to profit mightily and immorally off the misery of our citizens and much of the very illness they profit from they have caused via the promotion of unhealthy lifestyle choices through corporate owned media.
6. Multinational control of government, with the enshrinement of corporate personhood and recent untrammelled permission to buy elections we have surrendered our democracy to the top few percent of income earners becoming a plutocracy and are dangerously close to fascism.
7. Multinational control of resources, for years we have been exploiting the resources of the rest of the world by propping up dictators, toppling democracies, and undermining human rights in the name of corporate profits. Now we are doing the same within our own borders.
We are indeed like a third world country on steroids, eagerly consuming our future in favor of today's excessive convenience and comfort. Our democracy is dying on the altar of consumerism right along with biosphere that supports it. It is simply unsustainable.
What have you done today to lower your impact?
We are washing away the foundations of our existence on every front. It is high time we move from crashing about on the planet like a bull in china shop and find a way to go forward with intent. We must find systems of living based on sustainability. The systems and tools exist, it is up to each of us to adopt them.
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