It is virtually impossible not to despair of the future after yet another political campaign in which candidates for Congress, in Maine and elsewhere, ignored or shortchanged the most critical issues. We may not survive more such abdications.

Science deniers notwithstanding, the foremost societal issue is the fossil fuel decimation of our natural world and threat to our only habitat, which, as carbon emissions continue to rise, will starve us, turn shores to ocean, our grandchildren to toast.

Maine’s congressional delegation provides no leadership in addressing this ominous challenge. No wonder. Congress is owned by corporations and fossil fuel industries (many among the 90 that, in 160 years, have produced half of carbon greenhouse gas emissions worldwide).

ExxonMobil and the Koch brothers are determined to extract every penny of profit from their reserves, and corporations will not forgo profits to cut emissions. The American Legislative Exchange Council, greed’s legislation agent, even opposes renewable energy!

Germany’s energy now approaches half carbon-free; our change is unnoticeable. Challengers to Washington incumbents accommodated Congress’s abdication by focusing elsewhere.

Refusal to recognize climate change as a game-changer is only the chief manifestation of social moral collapse. Wealth concentrates in a handful, denies a living wage to legions and, in avoiding taxes, starves the needy. The military-industrial complex squanders half of federal revenues on a military used primarily to bulldoze any obstacle to corporate interests.


Government’s responsibility to serve the common good has succumbed to greed’s half-century war to reduce public expenditures and economic regulation. Incessant propaganda has promoted envy of the security of union members; hostility to recognition of quality health care as a right, even among those who lack it, and rejection of immigrants escaping violence and misery produced by our wars, subversion, exploitation and the North American Free Trade Act’s elimination of Mexican family farms.

The social fabric unravels in idleness, gun violence, drugs, rape and prison warehousing of the social flotsam.

We have become, as a consequence, indifferent to the needless misery and death we have produced. So the candidates were unanimously silent regarding these non-issues.

U.S. Senate and House incumbents from Maine, once re-elected, enjoy immunity from criticism. They are safe votes for militarism, empire, global labor exploitation – and Washington’s endless wars and endless support of Israel’s racist slaughter and repression of Palestinians.

Since 1980, we have attacked 14 Muslim countries, and since the Korean War killed, maimed, displaced or poisoned tens of millions, and attacked or ousted 50 governments. We now plan for six simultaneous wars!

Have there ever been votes against a military appropriation, a CIA budget or aid to Israel by George Mitchell, Bill Cohen, Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, Angus King, David Emery, John McKernan, James Longley, Tom Allen, Mike Michaud or Chellie Pingree?


Have any candidates pushed for conversion of military production, opposed militarizing space or championed cooperation among nations, international law or peacemaking? (Collins’ recent campaign focused on bringing home the Bath Iron Works bacon; she speaks at Israeli lobby events.)

We measure our economy by production and stock market profit, not by the general citizenry’s prosperity, which has largely disappeared. Milton Friedman’s worship of free markets produced the Chilean model of unprecedented income inequality and, with our recent bust, Alan Greenspan’s dazed acknowledgment that free markets are open to selfish abuse.

Are any politicians, save Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, seriously challenging the growing failure of capitalism and championing the moral right of workers everywhere to a living wage and to bargain collectively? Candidates promise to create jobs, but a globalized labor market, increased productivity, reduced government support for education and the necessary reduction in consumption to stem carbon emissions spell increased underemployment and, without strong government intervention, worsening exploitation of labor. Our politicians dare not even think it.

Washington, with shamefully little pushback from academe, churches or media, is not sobering up to meet these challenges but stripping our freedoms, civil rights, security and privacy, even curbing liberal education, to ready for the draconian controls required to sustain the tyranny of the few in a shrunken, hostile, impoverished habitat.

Our liberties will likely be forfeit well before desperation provokes the feared revolution – as Chris Hedges observes, the people’s last option.


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