May 2011
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Take back our country

By Galen Larson

“Take back our country” is the mantra of the Tea Party folks. But what does that mean, exactly? The people’s country was lost when the Mayflower first hit the rock – if you refer to the original inhabitants of this land.

So take our country back to where? Do they mean to when it was founded? Founded by whom, for whom? I know you get tired of hearing it – but it was the corporations. (it was founded by wealthy slave-owners to protect their economic interests, a concept that evolved into our present seemingly bullet- proof mega-corporations.)

Let me relate a short story to explain why I don’t like corporations but do support capitalism. There is a big difference.

When I was a youngster on a farm in the ’30s, things got tough. Dad was innovative. He found a small wholesaler of chickens. They struck a deal: The wholesaler furnished chicks and feed, we did the work, and it was a prosperous union.

Along came a corporation that bought out the wholesaler and came up with a supposedly better idea. My dad would be allowed to purchase the chicks and food from the corporation and then sell the product back to them when the chickens were raised, thus supposedly taking advantage of a fluctuating market – allowing him possibly greater profit.

Dad was no dummy. He saw through that scheme. He said it was simple: His product had a shelf life at a certain time. When that time came, if the corporation didn’t want to pay his price, he would be stuck with a big investment and a bank loan to repay. He would have been forced to sell at the corporate offered price.

His answer to them was, no, thank you.

So I have to chuckle when I hear big CEOs and Wall Street lobbyists claiming to worry about small entrepreneurs. Corporations concerned about small business? Ho, ho, ho. Just look at what they are trying to do here in Colorado. They want to squeeze all the small liquor stores out of business by being allowed to sell strong beer (over 3.2) in their grocery stores.

Just consider what happened to the Mom-and- Pop corner stores. When the corporations came in and opened their 7-11s, they could just as well have called it a 9/11 for the corner store. Now we have corporate fueling stations selling packages of junk food. No more window-washing, tire-changing, full-service stations. Pump your own, pay first, get a stale beer and five cents’ worth of Coke and ice for a dollar-fifty.

I believe in capitalism and entrepreneurship and competition, not the Walmarts of the world that suck the life’s blood from our communities and get government tax breaks to boot.

You want your country back? Quit supporting the corporate hack.

And I laugh when I see the Constitutionalist 9-12ers and Tea Party wrapping themselves in the flag and proclaiming their patriotism, yet refusing to pay tribute to support their country. It’s always someone else who should pay. They want their Medicare and their Social Security, heavens, yes, and they want the Donald Trumps of the world to pay zero percent in taxes, but somehow we’re going to balance the budget. Explain to me how that math adds up.

After listening to the likes of Palin and Trump and Huckabee and wimpy blue-dog Democrats, I wonder if there are any truly compassionate, honest people in Washington. They all profess to be Christians but I am sure Christ would not recognize any of their causes. I’m not a churchgoer, but I was under the impression that Christ’s agenda was to feed the poor, heal the sick, drive mammon out of the churches and spread love for our neighbors. What do these politicians talk about? More money for the defense budget, newer and better ways to kill people, more oil, more cars, more wealth concentrated in the hands of a few. Where is the Christianity in all of that?

To me, taking back our country would mean freeing it of the pernicious influence of lobbyists and Big Money and Wall Street. It would mean ending “golden parachutes” of tens of millions of dollars for fired, incompetent CEOs. It would mean no more tax breaks for oil companies and superstores and agribusinesses that deny poor farmers the right to save seed for next year’s crop.

But the Tea Party folks don’t talk about any of that. Instead, they mill about in silly colonial garb and march like zombies to the Communist-supplied Big Box stores.

Galen Larson writes from rural Montezuma County, Colo.


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