Op-Ed: Reclaiming the country from corporations

I enjoyed Ron Kaye’s column, “Making a true effort to connect,” in the May 22 edition of the News-Press & Leader.

Kaye and I are the same age. We have lived through the same eras, and I know what he is saying and feeling about the changing world. He is correct; we can never go back to the way life was in earlier years.

That is probably why every Memorial and Veterans Day I attend observances at Burbank’s McCambridge Park. The flag-waving, the patriotic music, the genuine respect shown to all service men and women, dead and living, somehow for a brief period of time transports me back to the country I grew up in, not the one I live in today.

At last year’s Memorial Day observance, when the final note of “Amazing Grace” was sounded on the bagpipe and people got up to leave, I approached Rep. Brad Sherman to tell him why I come to the service every year. I said that it made me feel like I was back in the America I grew up in, that most of the time I don’t feel that way anymore. I said that I believed democracy was replaced by the corporatization of America.

Sherman replied that it was up to citizens like me to effect change. Really? Somehow I thought that was his job; wasn’t he elected to do for us what we can’t do ourselves as individuals?

Nevertheless, I didn’t tell him that. I replied, instead, that I vote in every election, I’ve worked on political campaigns, I write letters to the editor, I’ve marched and demonstrated in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. I’m a community volunteer.

“What more can I do?” I asked.

So much for our elected representatives. If they’re taking campaign money from corporate America — and which of them isn’t? — their allegiance is no longer with their constituents, and they cannot effectively represent the average citizen.

I don’t think we have any control over what is happening in Washington, D.C., or in Sacramento, but I still believe there is a chance to redirect our local communities back to a more democratic state. However, it must take the will and desire of every citizen living in these communities.

For Burbankers, it means that every registered voter must cast their vote in the local elections. Eight-thousand voters determining who governs this city is not democracy. The only way we can return to a world where we can, in Kaye’s words, “live in greater peace and prosperity for ever-greater numbers” is to become involved in that world and stop our obsession with celebrity, notoriety and those people and events which have no bearing in our lives.

Molly Shore is a Burbank resident.


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