This means that we don’t actually get “news,” we get what the corporate heads want us to think is news. Why do you think we get headlines like: President Obama to Headline Hispanic Caucus Awards. These are meant to be distractions from what is really going on in the world, and especially right here in the US. While we focus on the “news” that these corporations feed us, those same corporations are sending all of our jobs overseas, eliminating our middle class, taking all of our money, and driving as many of us as they can into poverty. They don’t care if our economy collapses because they have their fingers in plenty of other pies all over the world. If consumers in the US can no longer afford their products because we have been driven into poverty, they will simply move to another market.
It is not just the media. Starbucks has nearly taken over the coffee business, especially here in the US. Though many “media” articles rave about their coffee quality, being a coffee connoisseur, I can attest that the quality is not nearly as awesome as those articles claim. At least they do offer a light roast coffee, which is healthier and contains more caffeine for the morning “kick”. Unfortunately they do not offer other healthy options, such as nut milks. Cows milk causes gastrointestinal issues for many people, not to mention it is very high in calories. Starbucks alternative is soy milk, which does not have the same gastrointestinal effects and less calories than cow’s milk, but there are health risks with soy, especially if it is not prepared properly. Big corporations aren’t concerned about the health risks their products have on a few consumers, especially if those symptoms can’t be definitively traced back to their product.
McDonald’s sells more hamburgers than any other fast food business, and have been caught on several occasions cutting corners…corners that put the health of their patrons at risk. Their disregard for their employees is well-known, and well documented. Another corporate giant who has a well documented disregard for their employees is Wal-Mart. What is frustrating for me in these cases is the fact that without their employees, these companies would be nothing. The people who come in every day, put in the work, deal with customers, lift the boxes, cook the food, stock the shelves and keep the places running are the ones who ensure that the companies stay in business. Without them, there would be no company, yet the corporate heads treat them like disposable rags. If someone needs some time off to care for a sick loved one, or they get into a car wreck, or some other tragedy befalls them, these corporate heads simply fire them and move on to someone else who will fill the slot rather than recognizing the hard work that person has put in for the company. These people are not disposable, and the corporate heads need to know that.
Our financing industry is being consolidated into a few big banks. We don’t even have control over who we’re indebted to anymore. When I was in school, I took out school loans with Wells Fargo. Within months the bank had sold my loans to Fannie Mae. My debt transferred to someone I never made a contract with–without my consent, and there was nothing I could do about it.
What can we do to protect ourselves?
We need to break the corporate power over our country. I believe the first step is to get behind Bernie Sanders. He truly understands how urgent our plight is. I believe he will take action to: limit congressional terms, close corporate tax loopholes, make sure these corporate leaders are accountable for their actions, and much more.
On a more personal level, I try my best to avoid big corporations. I bank at a local credit union. Most of my clothes are purchased second hand; not only do I get to avoid spending money at a big corporate owned institution, I also save money that way. I do my best to get as much of my food as I can locally, and cook at home. When I do go out, I prefer unique restaurants as opposed to chains. I have a latte machine at home. I can make my coffee with whatever kind of milk I want…including the nut milks I make myself.
In the end, we need change…both on a macro and a micro scale. We can make the small changes in our own lives that tell these corporate leaders we’ve had enough, but we need a revolutionary change like Bernie Sanders to ensure that they truly get the message.