On Sunday, the day after the House passed legislation that will bankrupt the United States of America and lead to the demise of our constitutional form of government, I was discussing the matter with my parents. It was my mother, in response to my need to reduce seemingly incomprehensibly complex entanglements down to a single point of causation, the better to craft a solution, who asked: "Why would they DO that?" referring to US citizens and educated voters who willingly vote to impoverish and enslave us all.
Of course, the 'Why' part was not crucial to my single-point-of-causation quest, but it was and is something to think about. As I asked last week, who do they think they are fooling? Again these are educated people to whom history is known and knowable, for whom logical progressions should be easy to apply.
And of course the answer is obvious: Lust for wealth and political power. To apply this theory let us turn to one of the most underestimated and most misunderstood of American institutions, the Chamber of Commerce. Local, state and national versions of this institution made up of member businesses together represent the very fabric of life in America. Chamber of Commerce members are our employers, major taxpayers, and a voting bloc. In politics the Chamber is an influential fundraiser and contributor. Its leaders, having attained their positions by dint of knowing more members than their rivals for such positions in most cases (rather like some obsessive-compulsive Twitter or Facebook fiend's pursuit of followers and "friends") are held up as credible sources of wisdom on this matter and that.
However, as capitalists members of "evil profit-driven" corporations, they are also oppressors and exploiters of poor Latin and South American farmers, sweat-shop operators and slumlords the world over. And above all, they are....REPUBLICANS!! This means, of course, that they are racist and bigoted white men, most of the time, when it suits the Liberal Democrats.
In reality the Chambers of Commerce across the land are made up of people who are just one thing, all the time: businessmen and businesswomen. They are business leaders first, American citizens second, and they prove it with every political stand they take.
And that would be fine with me. I know where they stand and it is on whichever side stands to make the most money the soonest. But not everyone has this clear understanding of the Chamber of Commerce, and that suits them just fine. Most people, if you took a poll, would say they trust the COC in matters of finance and fiscal and monetary policy. Some of the biggest corporations in world, now owned by the American taxpayer and controlled by the Obama administration, are major members of state and national chambers of commerce. They used their power and influence on what would make the biggest and fastest buck and didn't give the American way of life a second thought.
So it is up to people like you and me, to make sure that the rest of our community is aware of what the local, state, and national chambers represent. We must demand that our civic leaders reject their counsel and stop holding them up as keepers of financial wisdom. I will stop short of demanding that the chambers of commerce stay out of politics and just do what they do the best, make money. Because they have every right to political free speech as anyone.
Next month they will oppose Cap and Trade legislation in the Senate. Good for us. The month after that they will support legislation granting amnesty to millions of illegal aliens. Good for them, bad for us.
And it has been exactly one year since the Maryland state Chamber of Commerce promised us that we would all be swimming in money if only we would approve an amendment to the state Constitution allowing casino operators to install 5,000 slot machines in various places.
They have proven that their advice is worse than worthless, it is dangerous. The question is, what will you do about it? Who will you have to blame the next time you buy this or that political plum the chamber of commerce tries to sell you?