In the news this week, there are two American cities living on bottled water because America is literally being poisoned by greed. It’s as simple as that. Men and women who already have millions are doing anything—no matter the human or environmental cost—to become even richer. The are hoarding immense fortunes rather than reinvesting in the society that made them rich.
The one percent are buying politicians, poisoning our air, water, land, and sea so that they can own yet another mansion and million-dollar yacht in Palm Beach to match the one they own in Martha’s Vineyard, which matches the one they own in the South of France. It doesn’t seem to matter to them how many people struggle in poverty, nor how many people they injure or kill, nor how badly they pollute the earth for future generations. Their single goal is corporate profits so that they and their families can become one of the privileged few.
I’m not pointing fingers at any religion or political party because this pandemic of greed affects everyone. It is greed—the idea of putting your needs above everyone else. The attitude of: I’ve got mine so fuck all the others. How many people have to die of gun violence before gun manufactures put human lives before their corporate profits? How many people have to starve before congress is forced to spend less on wars and more on the welfare of the nation? How many people have to be poisoned before the rich are shamed into caring?
So the question is, how can we convince these one-percenters that gathering riches at the detriment of others is shameful? How do we convince them that raising the standard of living for everyone will make their lives more fulfilling? An image comes to mind: Jimmy Carter helping to build housing for the needy. How do we make him a poster child for what is honorable and moral, and make it stick.
How can we as a nation convince people, all people, to put the good of society above their own needs, compassion above greed?
I don’t have the answer to those questions. But I do know that it is possible to insure everyone in America lives above the poverty line, that no child goes hungry, that all people have a shot at a decent education and a fulfilling career that allows a comfortable standard of life. Call me a socialist if you must, and I will proudly wear that badge of honor, because I believe that nobody can truly hold their head high when so many people are struggling to survive day to day.
From what I see, there is a cancer consuming our nation, and its name is greed.