By Christina Tobin, Special forUSDR.
The Star Spangled Banner’s last line asks: “O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave, O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?”
Old Glory still flies, and our government has not been deposed by a foreign power. But the question still bears further consideration: are we free? Are we still brave?
Some few are so free here that their liberties far surpass anything Francis Scott Key could ever have imagined. There are some for whom laws simply do not apply. These few have acquired so much power that they even help write laws to benefit themselves, to the detriment of everyone else.
They get laws passed on holidays, in the middle of the night, after most Congressional representatives have gone home. They bury offensive legislation in phone-book-length bills.They use “Fast Track” legislation, which circumvents the democratic process.
Such freedom from responsibility and accountability diminishes the freedom of the rest of the population, who live by the laws that their free masters impose. Such is the price for the rest of us pay for their freedoms.
Recently, we saw the twentieth anniversary of The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The agreement allows multinational corporations to do business free from responsibility to the people. That’s a novel interpretation of freedom. This “Fast Tracked” legislation allowed the U.S. President to negotiate the agreement without consulting Congress or state legislators.
NAFTA was supposed to “create jobs.” What NAFTA actually did was put Mexican farmers out of business by flooding the market with subsidized, cheap U.S. corn. It sent U.S. manufacturer jobs to Mexico to employ the out of work farmers at low wages, and huge numbers of people migrated to the U.S.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is NAFTA on steroids. While the multinational corporations are trying to quietly “fast track” the TPP, some of those brave few, those still left standing under Old Glory, are speaking up and saying, “No.”