Last night, I had a conversation with The Lovely Lady that inspired this post. I had an idea that blossomed into what I hope is going to be a significant change to things. Things are not good right now, and I’ve said on this blog a few times that what we need is a change to our leadership.
Anyone who’s watched an HBO TV series is at least marginally familiar with the term RICO, which is an acronym for the Racketeer Influenced & Corrupt Organizations Act. This is legislation that was brought in for the sole purpose of giving the government additional powers in fighting organized crime. If you’re a fan of the Sons of Anarchy, RICO is your enemy, but RICO is an extremely important bit of legislation.
It is my opinion that one of the most important problems facing us today is the power of corporations. Globalization has created massive corporations who are ostensibly bigger than governments. This is not by any stretch a new situation, we’ve seen corporations wielding that sort of power since the discovery of the New World, but things are not getting better on their own. It is my opinion that things are getting worse because there are so many corporations with that kind of power. And power corrupts.
RICO is about corruption, but its eyes are stuck on organized crime. I would like to see that change. I would like RICO, or a similar act, to focus on the private and public sector. Corporations are legally considered people, but as the saying goes, I’ll believe that when Texas hangs one. Corporations work with almost perfect impunity in the global marketplace, knowingly funding revolutions, knowingly supporting bloody military regimes, spreading lies about politicians to shatter their public image and remove them as threats, and using lobbyists to promote and push through legislation that is not in the best interests of the people.
Why can’t we hold a RICO case against corporations and government? Without those additional powers, corporations are able to hide behind plausible deniability, and the legal separation between the corporate decision-makers and the decisions.
The first legislative change we would need to enact for this to be effective are substantial limits on the amount of money and the tactics that lobbyist groups can employ. It is undemocratic for corporations to use their money to garner political support, and is a perfect example of corruption. There must be a line between the legitimate desire of business to express their side of a conversation and the corrupt buying of politicians. Peddling influence is corruption, and RICO is about corruption.
If a mafia boss were caught giving money to politicians to ensure that government contracts went their way or legislation was passed that would benefit them, it would be organized crime. So why is it any different when the person making the bribe is a corporation?
The problem is that companies distance themselves from their bad behaviors. RICO fixes that, and would allow investigators to build a large case against a corporation by following the corruption from the end to the origins.
So how do we make these changes? What we are asking is for government to pass legislation that cuts out their ability to be corrupted, which is, at least on the surface, not going to happen. Why would they cut their own throats? It makes no sense. However, this is an example of where we the people can force our voices to be heard. It’s simple, really.
The word must spread. The idea must be flushed out and turned into a bill. And then we the people need to tell our elected officials in no uncertain terms that this legislation is not an option. If you do not want to turn the eye of scrutiny related to the organized crime that is taking place in politics, then we can only assume you are either guilty of the crime or you prefer the rights of criminals to the rights of the people you serve, and our only response must be to toss you out of office and elect someone who will stand up for the democratic principles we need. We make certain there are time limits around the enacting of this legislation, and we tell them that the legislation they ultimately pass had better meet our expectations.
In short, we push the legislation on them. We make them an offer they can’t refuse. And if there are enough voices who are willing to stand up for our democracy and vote out the scoundrels who refuse to stand up for our rights, we win. It really is that simple.
So what do you say?