Some Sunday Thoughts
April 7, 2013 § Leave a comment
Animal Cruelty and Public Policy: A Meditation
A front page story in this morning’s Times made me realize how completely our state governments have become subsidiaries of corporate business. The story described the results of tape recorded investigations by an animal rights group. Their tapes showed corporate farm employees inflicting disgusting cruelty on horses, chickens and pigs. The tapes led to criminal indictments and McDonalds cancelled its contract with the owner of the chicken farm.
My first reaction was satisfaction that the activists had achieved some good results.
Then, however, I read the rest of the story on the jump page. In response to the investigations, legislatures in Iowa, Utah .and Missouri adopted new laws that provided criminal penalties for any surreptitious video taping by employees designed to defame an employer. The laws also criminalized any application for employment that contained false information to conceal the intent of the applicant to investigate employment practices that would harm the reputation of the employer. Finally, the laws required that any tape recording of any wrongful practices be turned over to appropriate authorities within two days, thus making any meaningful investigation impossible. Similar laws are pending in Indiana . [A link to the story]
All of these coverup laws are provided by the American Legislative Exchange Council, the corporate funded incubator for right wing voter suppression, union busting and, now, whistle blower eradication.
Stop and think about this. Democratically elected legislators are proposing to jail private citizens because they expose criminal conduct by corporate employers. Has our country become so committed to corporate welfare that fundamental moral values no longer matter? Has Engine Charley Wilson’s famous slogan, “What’s good for General Motors is good forAmerica” finally replaced e pluribus unum as America’s motto? Has our “Land of the Free and Home of the Brave” become a plantation?
On a happier note: While searching for something else I recently discovered a poet, writer and creative thinker named Gloria Anzaldua. She was born in Hargill, a small town in South Texas near the Mexican border. I found her thoughts about race, ethnicity and sexuality to be fascinating. She writes from the perspective of a Mexican American of mixed ethnicity and as a woman whose sexuality, so far as I can determine based on a very incomplete review of her writing, is too complicated to fit neatly into a standard label.
One thing that attracts me to her is that, far from regarding these complexities as burdens or problems, she celebrates them.
In another context, just this morning, I listened to a discussion of Obama’s mixed race and the issues that his prominence has highlighted among other mixed race Americans. It seems to me that, although the facts concerning racial and ethnic mixtures have not changed, our cultural attitudes have. I find that to be promising and hopeful. Intelligent discussion of racial and ethnic mixture will, I think and hope, make racism and bigotry too complicated to survive. Because I am convinced that everything I abhor is, in some way, related to those two plagues, anything that hints at their abatement pleasures me.
Ms. Anzaldua got her undergraduate degree from Pan American University in Edinburg; did graduate work at UT and was awarded a doctorate after her death in 2010.