I came up with an idea for a painting today. After watching several documentaries lately about the economy and how corporate America works, I decided to do a picture of big corporate tower with a jolly roger flying from the top. It’s my way of showing just what I think of the people I consider this country’s pirates. It’s saying that I think the CEOs of these big companies that pull in billions a year and then outsource to Mexico or some other country are no better than pirates. They just find more sneaky ways of taking you money, and aren’t as direct as “give me your money or I’ll kill you”. It’s more like give me your money or I won’t provide you with food, clothing, and shelter.
I watched a Michael Moore documentary the other night with Stef called The Big One. We didn’t realize until we started it that it was from the mid 90s. We decided to watch anyway, but what it mostly dealt with were how the executives of these corporations would, at the peak of productivity, decide to move their factories to another country to “remain competitive”, in other words, to make even more money. Three billion a year just isn’t enough. The thing that struck us both was how it didn’t seem almost 20 years old. The issues are the same even today.
In the movie Michael Moore is at one point singing with Rick Neilson from Cheap Trick. They were singing The Times They Are A-Changing by Bob Dylan. All I could think was the times aren’t changing. If anything it’s the same old problems only ten times worse. We give tax breaks and bailouts to these people, just so they can keep doing what they’ve been at for over 20 years. One guy in the film said it perfectly. If the rich get all the money and don’t spend it, who’s going to buy the 30 thousand dollar cars, who’s going to buy all the products these companies produce when no one can afford them. The money doesn’t go back into the economy; it’s sitting in some off shore bank account collecting dust. If the money doesn’t come back into the system it’s going to break down. These people seem more interested in making third world countries prosper than our own. Shouldn’t the welfare of our own country come first?
It can be argued that if I buy the products that these companies produce then I’m just feeding the monster I want to destroy. Yes, I do buy quite a few things that I’m sure they make, mainly food. Why do I do that and not change my lifestyle to buy more local and organic foods? Because I’m not made of money; I have no job and I’m living on food stamps. I get 200 dollars a month to feed myself and my girlfriend, and it’s always tight. I do try to look for local made produce and organics, but normally I’m looking what’s the cheapest I can afford. If that happens to be something made locally I take it, if not then I don’t have much of a choice. It’s either make that 200 stretch or go hungry. I can’t raise my own livestock, I can’t hunt where there are no places nearby to hunt, and I don’t have the room to grow a garden.
I make what I have last so that I can survive, and I’ve sure as hell given up a lot just to get where I am now. I may buy some products these companies make, but that doesn’t mean that I have to like it. I don’t like that there aren’t more affordable options, because if there were I’d take them. I don’t want to give a dime to those people, but sadly they’ve permeated society to the point where you don’t have many options. You can give your money to one criminal or another; take your pick.
This painting will be my symbol of frustration that these corporate pirates are allowed to legally bring this economy to its knees. It’s a symbol of my anger that I am forced in many ways to hand my money over to them. It’s a symbol for all people that feel like these companies have taken advantage of them. I’m not saying anything that hasn’t been said before; I just choose to create something that can say more than I ever could in this blog. A picture is worth a thousand words, but I want to make one worth millions; millions of people that are sick and tired of dealing with the economic and social problems that their ancestors tried to fix a hundred years ago. They fixed them, and then their children, who never had to grow up with those problems, slowly dismantled much of their work.
If I sound angry it’s because I am, and I want more people to be angry about this. I know I don’t offer any solutions, because anyone who payed attention in high school history class should know what needs to be done. We need another Teddy Roosevelt; another FDR. We need to do something about these obvious monopolies that have turned into the proverbial elephant in the room. This is one more reason that I paint. I don’t want to make pretty pictures, I want to make people think, I want to catch their attention in a way that someone rambling on and on never will. I want to help makes the times start changing again and start another cultural revolution. Say anything against my message that you want, but even if I don’t agree you have thought about this, and thus my work is done.