The hilarious 2006 film “Idiocracy” offers a vivid depiction of American politics. The movie is classified as a sci-fi comedy, but it is more like a searing documentary. It almost perfectly describes America’s crisis of survival today.
In “Idiocracy,” set 500 years in the future, America is suffering from famine. Every public function has been turned over to some self-serving corporate interest. A fruit-drink company controls crop irrigation, and the nation’s crops are being poisoned by the fruit drink. In the meantime, the public is kept in a state of abject ignorance and distraction by demolition derbies, drugs, and debauchery. The nation is saved when an average joe, miraculously resuscitated from the distant past, reintroduces clean water to the crops, thereby saving the nation. He is hailed as a genius for his simple insight.
Which brings us to America’s idiocracy in 2021. Our most important public functions are handed over to corporate sponsors. Our entire political system is designed to let corporate money speak, through campaign contributions and corporate lobbying. Instead of famine caused by fruit drink, today’s disasters are due to human-induced climate change caused mainly by burning fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas).
Hundreds of people have already died this summer due to severe weather events linked to climate change. The heatwaves in the Western states and parts of Canada have been relentless, not to mention deadly. The hurricane season arrived a month early in the Caribbean. Extreme flooding in western Europe killed at least 185 people.Yet even as these disasters unfold, the US political system continues to defend fossil fuels. And in the current round, it is West Virginia’s two senators, Republican Shelley Moore Capito and Democrat Joe Manchin, who are the mouthpieces of the fossil fuel industry. Each has received more than $2 million during their careers in campaign contributions from the energy and natural resource sectors. And each stands shoulder to shoulder with the fossil-fuel industry.Earlier this month, an ExxonMobil lobbyist called Manchin the “kingmaker,” and said he is in contact with the senator’s office once a week. (Continued)