Friday, April 4, 2014

Steps




Throughout all of our tumultuous past 5 - 10 years, there hasn't been that much of a response to what has happened. Not a strong one at least. There hasn't been people coming together, protesting, taking a stand in any meaningful way, against the bankers who got bailed out, against the wage disparity, or against policies that cause this changing climate. I shouldn't speak of the number of groups that I'm overlooking that are probably doing all sorts of things that I just don't pay attention to in the e-mails that get filtered to the unimportant section of my inbox automatically by gmail. I also still think Occupy was pretty cool for the few months it lasted but it was only a few months.

But for the millions of people who lost their homes due to a shitty mortgage, the tens of millions of people who have lost jobs or are living at an unlivable wage and the general weakening of our society partially at the expense of those who want the conditions to make sheer billions; it doesn't feel like people come together. Where would we go to begin with? I think it comes down to the fact that our democracy is eroding as we just don't see or know the people around us. We aren't connected. The millions of people who got foreclosed on in many of the sunbelt states would have made a pretty good army. However, there is no connection in the suburban world of subdivisions where you can barely walks from one section of a neighborhood to the next. Nobody knows and feels as though they need to know each other. We're so connected to our digital world that we just don't have the chance to be tuned into an actual world around us.

I don't know if civic action really counts for that much anymore either. Obviously if you're the only one in a movement, it's not going to be that strong of a movement. However, money speaks really loudly and when you just have so much more wealth in people's hands and so much more ability for that wealth to equate influence on our elected representatives, then so much else can just be drowned out. I just imagine as well that things are maybe more complex now. It's hard to even understand why the repealing of Glass Steagall in 1999 might have been a really significant factor in allowing our financial sector to take such riskier moves. It's hard maybe to get passionate about the policy nuances or all the corruption that happens in such convoluted systems. It's also hard to maybe have enough people around you be able to be on the same page with it.

As usual, not much of a constructive solution will be posed. Maybe a few things though would be useful to encourage:

  • Write your representative with concerns. Especially at the state or local level. I think they like hearing from you, one wrote back.
  • Talk with and get to know your neighbors. Find ways to make connections and share concerns about what's going on in the community. 
  • Attend council meetings at the many levels of your government. 
  • Pay attention to what's going on - a lot of it sucks and is kind of negative (which might be a media thing), but still it's really important to know. 
  • Comment and share ideas in a range of venues. 
  • Sign or start an initiative in your town. 
  • Volunteer in your community. It really helps get you connected to it.
  • Definitely donate foods, goods and money to the right places. Just not Sheldon Adelson. That guy sucks.  
Enough of this man's preaching.