Much has been made of unbridled gun ownership in America and the correlation to mass shootings, and for good reason. We cannot go on making possible the carnage, especially of innocent children. Yet the problem goes much deeper. Yes, we have 4 percent of the world’s population but 31 percent of mass shootings. But that same 4 percent consumes a shocking 30 percent of the world’s opioid drugs and has 27 percent of opioid related deaths.
The pattern repeats itself across all segments of our lives. We spend more per capita on healthcare than any other nation on earth yet have worse health outcomes than countries of even remotely comparable wealth. Our energy companies engorge themselves with profits while weather-related disasters increase in scope and frequency. Our food industry has created an epidemic of obesity and its consequent diseases. Our agrochemical industries continue to pollute our natural resources. And now our internet companies are destroying fact-based information — Google is now the largest lobbyist in Washington. Across all industry segments corporate coffers are at all-time highs, even before the recent massive tax cut handout, while salaries stagnate and many working people cannot even make living wages.
All these issues are enabled by the extraordinary influence that industry special interests have achieved over our lawmakers, our laws, policies and regulations. We cannot begin to solve our nation’s problems until we get at this root cause, and make government work for the best interests of individuals, rather than special interests. Ask your candidates for office where they get their money. See whom they name to head up departments of government — experienced professionals or billionaire oligarchs and industry shills. Support those who don’t take money from corporations or industry-backed organizations, who are in favor of campaign finance reform and of eliminating gerrymandering of electoral districts, so we can have a functioning democracy again.