“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” So goes a quote commonly attributed to the British author George Orwell. I don’t disagree with Orwell – in fact, it’s time we had more people willing to tell the truth about the society that we live in today.
We live in a time of universal deceit. We are lied to by politicians, we are lied to by our bosses (who, of course, ultimately control the former by means of what any reasonable person would consider bribery by way of campaign donations) and we are lied to by the media. Nothing is as it seems.
We are taught from a young age to respect and support an economic system that does not serve our interests.
Case-in-point: how many working stiffs have benefitted from the so-called “recovery” we are now experiencing? Unemployment is officially at 7.2 percent, a rate that understates unemployment by including the underemployed, those who would otherwise be working longer hours, and excluding those who have simply stopped looking for work. A more accurate reading of the unemployment can be gauged using the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ own U6 rate, which gives us a real unemployment rate of 13.6 percent for the month of September.
Our economic system does not provide for those who need the most provision. It does not guarantee access to life-saving operations. It does not guarantee access to food and shelter. It does not guarantee access to higher education. It does not protect or preserve our natural environment.
It allows for the richest of the rich to sap 95 percent of the income gains in this “recovery” while the rest of us struggle to make ends meet. It has allowed for CEO pay to skyrocket while workers’ wages remain (adjusted for inflation) where they were in 1973.
We are told that ours is the best system in the world. It is true that the American economy does a few things very well – it creates a large number of millionaires and an even larger numbers of beggars. It destroys the environment. It converts every single human action or emotion into something from which profit can be extracted.
Capitalism is, at its root, the robbery of those without by those with. It is a system that does not promote human well-being or human growth and development – unless you are one of the rich few who benefit from the system. It is the rich versus the rest.
And you and me? We’re the rest. We haven’t done well in the last three decades. Reaganomics, Clintonomics, Bushonomics, Obamanomics – call it what you want, but don’t call it fair and don’t call it free. We are the first generation that will, in all likelihood, be worse off than the generation that came before us. We are saddled with student loan debt, we are paid next to nothing and we have no way of climbing out of it.
That is unless we do something. We, and only we, can change the way things are into the way things can and should be. We must take a stand. We must tell the truth.
Devin Griggs is president of the Murray State College Democrats.
Column by Devin Griggs, Opinion Editor