There comes a point, a breaking point, when the names of political parties no longer matter, when their agendas no longer speak to the true needs of a country: hungers whose pangs have gone unnoticed, thirsts that have lasted long beyond the drying of the lakes, needs and pitiless pleas that have gone unanswered for far too long.
I once had faith in the Democratic Party, particularly in our current president, Barack Obama. I had faith that it would heed the words, the cries, the screams for the salvation of the seventh generation out. I speak not solely of the fates of the children of my children’s children, or of the fate of the wild earth beyond the window, or of my health and well-being in the here and now. I speak of all of the above, and the destiny of the United States of America.
As I have read the news day in and day out, and read histories of this country and others since I was in my teens, I have come to the realization that selfishness cannot and should not hold the reins of a nation. Selfish enterprise will destroy this country, and it already is in the form of the countless multi-national corporations and unregulated industries that cut corners to grab an extra wad of cash for their pockets, in turn snipping our rights straight out of the Constitution. Confused? So am I. If we all have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, as was deemed by the founding fathers of this nation, then virtually our entire economy should be found guilty of breaching the founding tenets of our country.
When an industry like the fossil fuel industry, or a corporation such as BP or Coke, pollutes the environment to unacceptable levels due to being essentially self-regulated, then they infringe on my right to life, on the right to live. I have not been killed by these corporations, as I am writing this article, but I have seen the empty houses where families have left, destroyed by cancer. I have seen the people, crippled by disorders and disease, who need others to fight for them in court, for they cannot stand or speak on their own. Did these people truly have the right to life? What about liberty? Do I have the freedom to breathe clean air, drink clean water and eat clean food? If I wish to fulfill my right to life, then I do not truly have freedom, for I am imprisoned by the poisoned world that has grown around me, unchecked by a government that once promised to look after its people. And of course, do I, do we, truly have the ability to pursue happiness in this country any way we please? Unless happiness is a pre-defined state of torpor in the midst of a crumbling earth, perhaps. Otherwise, what of personal definitions of happiness? What if my definition of happiness is feeling safe to drink the water from any stream I come across, to bathe in it, to swim in it? To feel free to eat any fruit, to partake of the meat of any animal this country raises, without fear of poisoning? If that is my definition of happiness, then the Constitution does not provide for the free interpretation of the term “happiness.” If the Constitution does indeed intend that everyone in this nation deserves the right to their own happiness, whatever that means, then most every executive of every corporation and industry in this nation should be jailed.
One might think that after all this, I would suggest the Green Party as an antidote to this problem. But no, the term “green” does not cover the scope of interests of such a party. The Moral Party should be its name because it is the party that simply does the right thing, no matter what, even if it means being spat upon, beaten, cursed at – perhaps even all of the above, together, at the same time. I once wrote to our president, urging him to do a similar thing. I can understand his trepidation: breaking ranks with coal and oil, among others, could very well lead to an assassination. But he would go down in history as a hero. As one who thought about the future for once, as one who believed in the virtue of true justice. Justice for those who suffer beneath the deadly fumes of the smokestacks; justice for those lonely farmers who are slaves to CAFOS; justice for those who have lost their mountains, their rivers, streams, oceans, families… justice for life itself.
(Note: This was a rant written under the assumption that the Constitution provides for the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I have recently realized that we do not have such rights and that this line is from the Declaration of Independence; I apologize for this error. On a related note, why aren’t the rights to clean air, food and water in our Constitution? If anyone cares to respond, please, by all means, do so.)
From: Alexander Aflalo ‘12
Published: April 1, 2012