An Open Letter to Young Voters

Hey you,

Yes, you. The 24-year-old fresh out of grad school, about to finally embark on that career as a licensed clinical social worker -- except you are $30,000 in debt before you've even seen your first paycheck.

And you, the 20-year-old that just lost a year because they dropped you from classes for not paying by the deadline. With that second job at Best Buy, you might have just made it if you'd qualified for that subsidized loan. That 12 percent interest though, that was a killer.

And especially you, the 26-year-old that just got hired into his dream job at an investment bank. Your favorite song when you were 16 was "Antisocial" by Anthrax. You quoted Radiohead's "Fitter, Happier" to your college buddies. The yuppies were ruining the world you used to say, the rat race was taking our souls away.

Well here's the thing, you're about to become one of them.

Unless of course, you do something about it.

I have a story to tell you. A story about why things are the way they are. This is how it goes:

At the end of the Sixteenth Century a group of wealthy merchants formed a group they called "The Adventurers" and successfully petitioned the Crown to grant them a license to sail to India. This enterprise eventually became known as the British East India Company. By the year 1610 the company had an army of private mercenaries and the support of the Crown in its battle for the spice trade with Dutch and Portuguese merchants who also had Imperial patronage. Over the next century, the trading posts of the British East India Company became important footholds for the British Empire and played a crucial role in the eventual conquest of India by the British.

Since the days of the East India Company, corporate colossi have continued to run amok across the globe in the name of capitalism and entrepreneurship. Everywhere imperialism has gone, they have accompanied it. They have pumped the oil, sold the diamonds and stolen the land for which war has been waged.

Fast forward to 1953. United Fruit, a large American Corporation, owned large tracts of land in Guatemala and was the largest employer and producer of fruit in the country-among these, bananas. After the 1944 revolution and the formation of a Democratic Government land and tax reforms were implemented both of which affected United Fruit. After a period of relentless lobbying of Congressmen, Senators and the White House, Eisenhower authorized the CIA to engineer a military coup in Guatemala to overthrow the government of President Jacobo Arbenz, a socialist who had been elected in a landslide in 1951. Thus arose the term "Banana Republic".

A lesser known precedent is that of Honduras where in 1911 the Cuyamel Fruit Company (that later purchased United Fruit) used a mercenary army to effect a coup d' etat.

But this all happened so long ago and in such far away, exotic sounding places didn't it?

No, it is happening in the here and now. And it is happening in America. The lobbying that now occurs on Capitol Hill makes the lobbying of United Fruit pale in comparison. We have a lobby for everything now and after Citizens United, there is no limit to how much money corporations can throw at politicians and presidential candidates. The joke is on us folks, we are the banana republic of our times, except at the hands of our own political and corporate leadership.

Without a shot being fired and with no military coup d'etat necessary, the robber barons have taken over. This is why amidst so much wealth there is so much poverty. This is why billionaires get tax cuts while you pay vulgar amounts of interest on your student loans for your overpriced educations. This is why you are being trained to have limits to your compassion. This is why you are being told that greed is good.

Don't let the yuppies win. Don't let money and illusions steal your soul.

I hear that in Iowa and Nevada you favored Bernie Sanders 6 to 1 over Hillary Clinton. The problem? Most of you did not turn out to vote. People 65 and over favored Hillary 5 to 1. They turned out in numbers a clear ten percent higher than their share of the voting population. You turned out seven to eight percent less. That made all the difference in both those contests. You could have changed the outcome. You can change the outcome of the primaries to come.

Get out and vote. Feel the Bern.