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Gerry ChidiacWatching corporate-sponsored mainstream news can be confusing and frustrating.

I have great difficulty sitting through report after report about Russia tampering in U.S. elections. Why is this news? What did they stand to gain? Haven’t the Americans been tampering in elections in other countries for generations?

Though millions accept the nonsensical issues that dominate the news agenda and have drawn the frightening conclusion that they’re powerless, nothing could be further from the truth.

We need to remember that some news sources are quite credible. They ask simple, intelligent questions and, better yet, they help us find answers. Those addressing the issues have proven track records for integrity and for bringing about positive change. The best analyses of current events, I’ve found, come from veteran citizen rights activists Ralph Nader and Noam Chomsky.

Chomsky and Nader believe in the potential of the American political system, and both draw the same conclusion with regard to the current state of affairs in their country: Corporatist lobbyists determine the agenda of both major political parties.

The result has been the deterioration of consumer and labour rights since the era of Ronald Reagan. While wages for corporate leaders have increased, middle-class America has fallen into crisis. The consumer rights championed by Nader in the 1960s and 1970s are also in danger.  One can even question whether he would be able to take on the auto industry and win if the battle had to be fought today.

The media continues to paint a picture of Democrat versus Republican, liberal versus conservative. In fact, there’s very little disagreement on many issues. Rank-and-file Democrats, Republicans, liberals and conservatives, for example, all want their families to be safe.

While corporatists hide behind a conservative agenda, their views are anything but conservative. Government support for failing corporations has nothing to do with true conservatism, which calls for less state involvement in industry. If a company fails because its goals are short-term and unsustainable, it has no right to demand taxpayer support under the banner of conservatism. What they’re asking for is simply corporate socialism.

The private health insurance lobby also has American people convinced that paying twice as much for half the health coverage (when compared to Canada) is good for capitalism. The fact is that these costs are putting an unnecessary burden on small businesses. Even larger international corporations find it less expensive to locate their North American offices in Canada.

A recent guest on Nader’s radio show, experienced investigative journalist Allan Nairn, pointed out that Americans are facing a crucial time in their history. President Donald Trump has continued to push policies that increase the gap between the rich and poor and push the corporate agenda.

Chomsky points out that Republican climate policies put the entire planet at risk, and that this has gotten even worse under Trump.

Many Americans will argue that the Democrats are also terrible. They’re correct. Democrat members of Congress are influenced corporatists as well. As charming as Barack Obama was, he continued to add fuel to foreign animosity by supporting covert military operations. He also did little to improve race relations or income inequity at home, and he agreed to bail out American financial institutions despite their damaging practices.

Chomsky points out, however, that one can work with the Democrats. Removing Trump’s majority in the upcoming mid-term elections will therefore be an important first step in restoring democratic rights to the American people. From there, citizens can work at the local level to ensure that candidates represent them as they should. If they won’t, they will simply be  replaced.

Though corporatists control a great deal, they don’t control the vote in the Unites States or in any other developed country. We still have free elections and every adult citizen has a voice.

As long as we listen to those who truly have our best interests at heart and act accordingly, the future is bright. The responsibility truly does rest on our shoulders.

Gerry Chidiac is an award-winning high school teacher specializing in languages, genocide studies and work with at-risk students. 

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