“Follow the money,” the famous words whispered by Deep Throat in an underground garage during the Watergate scandal, can be usefully applied to any number of ills afflicting American society. To take just the two main scourges of the present day, gun violence and opioid addiction, you can be sure there are people somewhere raking in huge profits on the backs of the victims.
Gun violence in the United States is the direct result of gun manufacturers pushing gun sales while claiming gun violence has nothing to do with guns. Absurd on its face, you only have to look at other comparable countries with sensible gun laws to see that the more guns there are, the more gun violence. Australia put an end to mass shootings and saw a dramatic decrease in murders and suicides when they banned assault weapons and placed restrictions on other guns. But in America we have the NRA ensuring that gun manufacturers continue to make obscene profits by buying off our representatives in Congress. How they squirm when pushed to answer questions after another mass shooting, but when it all blows over as other headlines grab the short national attention span, they are back to doing the bidding of those who line their pockets. Will this time be any different? We thought kindergartners being mowed down in their classrooms would be shocking enough to change things but the blood money continues to flow.
The same dynamic caused the opioid epidemic that has brought so much addiction, death, and heartbreak to American families. The pharmaceutical companies pushed their product on doctors with relentless marketing and doctors, who could share in the profits, complied. Pharmacists said nothing as they filled thousands upon thousands of prescriptions in small towns with only a few hundred residents. They enjoyed increased profits too. And just like the gun lobby, the pharmaceutical companies and their lobbyists buy off our elected representatives with huge donations, their drug of choice.
Neither of these problems will be solved until we follow the money and cut off the direct pipeline to politicians’ campaign chests. Does anyone think the NRA would care so much about second amendment rights if there was no money to be made out of it? Or wonder why pharmaceutical companies are so reluctant to develop drugs for rare diseases that garner them just a small number of potential customers? The current state of affairs proves the old adage that money is the root of all evil. America’s allegiance to Capitalism unmitigated by a social conscience has become a death cult.