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Sam I Am

November 4th, 2006 · Written by · No Comments

“Wal-Mart,” a proponent of nuclear armaments and state-sanctioned torture told me recently, “is the embodiment of everything good about America.”

To his credit, this was a former employee of the company who appreciated their diverse hiring practices. He touted the standard mantra of any big-business apologist. Low prices. Job opportunities. Convenience.

Maybe years of watching that bouncing yellow smiley face spout peppy PR BS impeded his ability to notice the irony in selecting this blue behemoth as a metaphor for American life. For beneath the glossy façade of corporate accountability and exemplary capital gain lurks the true face of brand USA.

Oh, Sam Walton, behold your vision of global domination in all its splendor. Gaze upon the monster you’ve spawned.

Relish in the triumph of monotony, the accruement of a new aesthetic. That of bland and bloated rectangles surrounded by lakes of asphalt, partitioned and sectioned. Nature’s sinuous curves replaced by hard edges. Know that, within your dominion of sequestered squares a treasure-trove of plastic possessions guarded by state-of-the-art surveillance awaits purchase. Some of these goods are the necessities of life, unable to be obtained elsewhere because the family-operated competition has been crushed. Others are amenities made available in an attempt to fill the holes dug in our souls after any semblance of local culture was subverted and strip-mauled.

Either way it was all made in China. Perhaps Bangladesh. Shipped via greenhouse gases.

What better way to illustrate two-faced foreign policies of imperial interventionism than through comparison to Wal-Mart’s ruthless expansionism?

Oh, Mr. Walton. Roll in your grave, knowing your brethren – with a combined net worth of over $90 billion – are among the top ten wealthiest individuals in the homeland. Your dear family has given less than 1% of this wealth back to communities while the average Wal-Mart employee lives below the poverty line. Your valued “associates” struggle to afford overpriced healthcare, and are encouraged to turn to state-funded programs for assistance. Please, deride them for their desperation, ridicule these socialist free-loaders, while the maniacal yellow smiley reaps $1.008 billion in tax-payer funded subsidies nationwide.

What better way to illustrate two-faced foreign policies of imperial interventionism than through comparison to Wal-Mart’s ruthless expansionism? False promises of salient employment and economic betterment wielded as soft power. Manipulation, bribery, and heavy-handed lobbying wielded as hard power. The result: a subservient populace permanently indebted to the whims of a bureaucratic juggernaut. Because when no one is paid a living wage, box stores are the only place you can afford to frequent.

Cheers, friends of laissez-faire capitalism: to Wal-Mart. An expensive toast to the embodiment of the American Dream.

Tags: Opinion · · ·

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