Back To School

The way forward has become clearer in the last few months. Becoming an organizer, public policy maker, lawyer, or other community leader has become attractive. I’ve always cared about social & economic justice, but I’ve not had much personal power.

I’ve read four books in the last few months that have been very illuminating & instructive. Thomas Frank’s, Listen Liberal, helped me see how we got where we are, along with George Packer’s: The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America, which details through personal narratives how America lost it’s center, while Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, by J. D. Vance reveals another facet of America’s slow, and not-so-slow, decline.

My favorite book, however, and the one which drives my ambition to organize is: A Force More Powerful: A Century of Non-violent Conflictby Peter Ackerman, & Jack DuVall, which is available on film as a PBS documentary.

As I’m boycotting Amazon, I suggest streaming online using iTunes, or Hulu, or borrowing the books and film through your local library. Amazon has become a predatory company with abysmal working conditions and unfair pay for many, if not most, workers.

The Woman’s March was affirming, and there are more planned marches in the works as the new authoritarian regime takes shape and we stand to lose ever more of our Constitutional rights.

Democracy requires participation, and while subtle stripping of our rights over the last few decades in the name of ‘fighting terrorism’ quieted many, we can no longer complain from the sidelines as we see bolder disassembling of our republic by those elected who follow their own agendas rather than the majority’s consent.

We can’t have everything, and we do need to compromise and find common ground where possible, but we resist attempts by the monied class and other interests to ruin our environment, or remove our Constitutional guarantees to seek redress for wrongs, to peaceably assemble, and for free speech.

https://www.monticello.org/sites/default/files/uploaded-content-images/Declaration_Engrav_Pg1of1_doctored_0.jpg
https://www.monticello.org/sites/default/files/uploaded-content-images/Declaration_Engrav_Pg1of1_doctored_0.jpg

Power is derived from the governed’s consent as our Declaration of Independence reads, in part:

“…We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.- That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, – That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

Political Ruminations

America is such a screwed-up country, and I don’t know who or what is ‘right’, but we’re wildly out of balance.  If you read comments under any political statement on the web, what people say about their fellow citizens is so harsh.  Can’t afford medical insurance? – then you should die.  There are people who utter and write that kind of uncompassionate tripe, whether they believe it or not.  Would they say that about their parents, or their children?  If they would, then they are psychotic and should be medicated and/or institutionalized.

We can’t afford care for all, or food for all, or housing for all – under the current system.  I don’t agree with philosophies that rule from the top down.  Theocracy is totalitarian rule, and is usually more repressive/regressive than other forms of governance.  I’d rather be ruled by an atheist dictator than one who purports to follow the orders of some unverifiable/unknowable ‘god’.   There is no Utopia.  All forms of governance are fraught with missteps and corruption.  I like the idea of a council with elected members – all of whom have a publicly funded budget for their campaigns, and that’s it.  Now that we have a plutocracy where funding comes from undisclosed sources in an organization, political influence can now be, and probably is, from outside the United States as well as from multi-billion dollar corporations.

Mitt Romney and the Republican party want to make the poor poorer by taking away programs that barely help them, as well as making them pay more tax, while greatly reducing, if not eliminating, taxes on the wealthy.

Eventually, the people will revolt as poverty increases in the United States to the level of third world countries, if it’s not there already.  Pockets of the citizenry are doing what they can to keep rights for the labor class – and while unions need reforming and more flexibility – they are also important to keep rapacious business practices at bay.

I remember hearing that while I’m preaching to the choir, even the choir needs practice.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Current Events

I’ve been reading, Confidence Men, by Ron Suskind, and while it hasn’t made me detest the Financial Industry and the Federal Government more, the book has framed a better context for my ire.  I’m grateful to understand more about what happened and why, and I know that we’re a nation governed by avarice far more than ever before, checked only by revolt of those it harms the most.

Occupy Wall Street was always going to happen because there’s no way the current system could continue and not experience blow-back.  We might be poor, but we’re not stupid, although I’m betting that’s how many of the four-hundred richest people in this country like to frame it to themselves.  Ignorance is one thing, stupidity is quite another.  As soon as the ignorant become educated, they get angry.  You can’t enslave a people forever, not if they have any sense of self.  You can’t rip us off and tell us it’s our own fault for very long without the ruse starting to come apart.

The irony is that so many of us are amenable to getting by with some moderate comfort.  I believe that most Americans are hard workers.  I know many people, in my blue-collar community, who work to live, and will do that until it becomes impossible due to health issues (in themselves, or in their family, or to others they care enough about to try to help out) or from job losses.  The working class isn’t asking for the situation to reverse, they’re asking for human decency.  We live in a rich nation that doesn’t provide affordable health care, when it absolutely could; our nation doesn’t provide decent jobs or living wages, when it absolutely could, and our government has seemed to have forgotten about providing for the common good, about being a voice for the voiceless, and power for the powerless, because of all the money in politics.

I don’t know what the best solution is, but there are many fixes or stop-gap measures proposed but not being implemented.  The ‘let them die’ crowd will always be with us, but that doesn’t mean they should be listened to, because if it were their own children or family, I doubt they’d be euthanizing them.  Even Ayn Rand took the Social Security and Medicare that she hoped to see dismantled.

Congress having a nine percent approval rating shows that whatever side of the aisle you sit on or root for, nothing is being done except yelling back and forth.  We need action that addresses the problems of the ninety-nine percent, because the one-percent will be just fine, no matter what happens.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.