(This article first appeared in the Huffington Post).
Corporations are not people, and regulating corporations — and our economy, so that we can all be part of a society that feeds our hungry, heals our sick, clothes our poor, and protects clean air, water and food for its citizens — is the role of what I like to call responsive government. Last night, a local tea partier had a different term for this form of government: “fascism.”
This being Christmas, following a year in which the tea party-led cutting of food stamps, Head Start funding, and unemployment benefits have become the bitter holiday fruit that millions of our neediest fellow Americans must bear, I would like to respond.
In a reply to a post I wrote this week on the WaccoBB community forum about a lawsuit by the multinational CVS corporation, based on the allegation that its “civil rights” were violated because our small city banned drive through windows in our pedestrian-friendly downtown, a respondent wrote: “You seem willing to take from anyone that has more if you don’t agree with them, regardless if they have followed the existing laws or not. A society that does such a thing has a name: Fascist.”
So it is the corporations in our country being “oppressed” by the majority, which means we have become a fascist state? You have been reading way too much Sarah Palin.
So here on the eve of Christmas, I feel compelled to express what I really think, on behalf of those poor, hungry fellow Americans who have so much less than most of us reading this at this moment.
In the face of the largest redistribution of wealth upwards, during the last 30 years, due to this “corporations are people” and “taxation and regulation and government are evil” rhetoric, fueled by billions of dollars in deceptive, lying ads and campaign contributions paid for by billionaires like the Koch and Mellon and Walton and Murdoch families, and their corporations and propaganda mills (“think tanks” and media outlets like Fox News), in the face of cutting food stamps and head start money for the tens of millions of poor American children, in the face of the highest level of poverty of any developed country on earth, with the lowest effective tax rate on corporations and rich people, in the face of the ecological disaster of fracking and climate change, in the face of the continually widening, and costly tax loopholes for multinational corporations and billionaires, in the face of a society so adeptly rigged that 95 percent of all income gain in the U.S. during the last three years has gone to the wealthiest 1 percent, in the face of all this, your rebuttal, that we, the people are practicing “fascism” when we exercise responsive, responsible government that works for our community, is nothing less than pathetic.
Fascism, for those who have been watching too much Fox News, is derived from a form of corporatism, enforced by an oppressive, dissent-crushing national security state, which suppresses the type of responsive, democratic government that we are working to practice here in Sebastopol, Calif.
This true definition of fascism sounds more like what the tea party, and its adherents, would create if they were more successful. It seems to me that it is fascist thinking, not democracy, that accuses socially, morally and ecologically responsible government regulation as “taking” and evil.
We, the People, deserve and demand an economy regulated to protect the air we share and breathe, and an economy that manages to feed and clothe and house the poorest, neediest among us, at Christmas and year round.