There’s a George Carlin routine wherein he tackles the notion that we, as citizens, don’t matter beyond our ability to support the already powerful. At first blush it seems like an overly nihilistic viewpoint, playing into the more contrarian ideals rather than anything particularly meaningful, but it’s a great listen and he makes some good points in it. The long and short of it is that you and I exist, in the eyes of corporate dynasties and political battletanks, as tools rather than people.
For a while I wanted to dismiss this out of hand, but when you see the US Courts basically saying that taxpayers are responsible for the BP spill cleanup and not any of those actually responsible, well…
“The injunction at this stage would be useless, as not only is there no ongoing release from the well, but there is also no viable offshore facility from which any release could possibly occur,” U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier wrote. “The Macondo well is dead, and what remains of the Deepwater Horizon vessel is on the ocean floor, where it capsized and sank in 5,000 feet of water.
“Moreover, BP and the agencies comprising the Unified Area Command have been and are cleaning up the Gulf of Mexico. An injury is not redressable by a citizen suit when the injury is already being addressed.”
They go on that it’s now the federal government’s responsibility to take care of the cleanup efforts, which means you and I are paying for it. Meanwhile, BP’s profits are on the rise and let’s not forget that when they scrapped Hayward as CEO he got an $18m severance package.
But that’s the life of a corporate entity. Fuck up, and you get to rake in money while the government takes care of the bill for you. That’s the amazing thing. The federal government is okay with dropping billions to change BP’s diapers, but Senators will take to the floor and shriek that individuals don’t deserve welfare or unemployment benefits when the shitty decisions made by those same big businesses throw their workers into a bread line. God damn.