Growing up, a fox named Robin Hood stole from the rich and the powerful who found protection in the likes Prince John, a lion, and the Sheriff of Nottingham, a wolf. The Disney film used stereotypes of animals to portray the central aspect of the characters’ role in the plot and to show the young audience a lesson. Robin Hood runs afoul with the law but the cause is just. His theft from the well to do, while unlawful, is just because it attempts to ease societal unrest and the correct the wrongs done by terrible leaders.
Today, Prince John and the Sheriff of Nottingham exist in the presence of Wall Street and the ever capitulating Congress. No real person or entity could claim to be Robin Hood but the National Nurses United union comes close. They are demanding a financial transaction tax on Wall Street.
Nurses around the country rallied last week as a modern day Prince John dictated his thoughts to his sheriffs… Wait… Jamie Dimon, the CEO of J.P. Morgan Chase, testified to Congress. Yeah, that’s it.
Dimon’s company ran afoul last month when a trade cost the company $2 billion (and now could be upwards of $8 billion). Instead of testifying under oath like most people do, Dimon faced softball questions from people that depend upon the generosity of the likes of Dimon. They believe they must have the financial support of Wall Street types to run and win their re-election campaigns… badgering Dimon would harm their chances in November. I think some people call this “biting the hand that feeds you.”
Robin Hood’s crime was not one of stealing. The powers that be had already done that. The powers that be in today’s world readily steal from the working class each and every day. They’ve abused foreclosure laws to steal people’s homes. They’ve abused workers’ rights to steal people’s hard earned wages. And over the last few decades the process went nearly unnoticed and resulted in the greatest income inequality seen since the Great Depression.
The real crime of Robin Hood came because he dared to challenge the powers, he attempted to fix the ills of his community, and he did so in a way that embarrassed Prince John to no end.
A Robin Hood like character could be of great value today. Corporate powers turned our democracy into a mere symbol and took away the reality of rule by and for the people. We could see a shift of power if we implemented the financial transaction tax, as proposed by the nurses union.
The tax would raise about $350 billion a year and help curb speculative trading that drives up the price of gas at the pump for everyday consumers.
“In cities and towns across the country and around the globe, people are hurting,” said Matt Kavanaugh of Health GAP in a statement. “Millions have been pushed into poverty, our social safety net has been shredded, and the winnable fights to end AIDS, food insecurity, and environmental destruction lack the resources to succeed. By adopting the Robin Hood Tax in America, we could go a long way towards solving our nation’s, and our planet’s, most pressing concerns.”
Sadly, the Robin Hood tax would require the Sheriffs of Nottingham to buck their Prince John. It would endanger their campaign funds, crush their hopes of an even more lucrative job after leaving Congress, and harm their current standing.
Ultimately, it was King Richard’s return that saved Robin Hood and restored order for the people. Who could be King Richard in this modern day? The people? What would happen if we returned to our democracy by fully engaging in the process. Not just a few phone calls for a candidate or a small donation. I am speaking of a larger electorate taking part in this thing we call democracy. It may have started with the activism from the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street… but it will take masses calling for justice and accountability.
Our democracy will not be safe from Prince John and a corrupt Sheriff until King Richard returns… you know what I mean.
© Aaron Krager 2008-2013 | Have any questions? Send me an email.