Saturday, September 01, 2007

We The People

We know what's wrong. The places we live in are too crowded and filthy, or too poor to be communities anymore. The goods we buy are are poorly manufactured, with no thought of safety or usefulness. The food we eat is filled with noxious chemicals that make it convenient for processors and deadly for people. The news is filled with empty adjectives, diversions and spin; the news-readers are clueless except for the producers voice in their ear piece. We rarely get the facts or the truth. Politicians can't get elected without becoming crooked (yes, YOUR favorite candidate, too) and therefore part of the problem. Corporations buy and sell the politicians, and through them make the decisions that impact our lives; but it is not our lives with which they are concerned - it is profits. Education, Health Care, and soon Housing, are only for the wealthy.

WalMart is wrong, and so is Haliburton, Enron, ATT, Time Warner, and especially Rupert Murdock. We know these are bad things, yet we do nothing. Britteny Spears, Paris Hilton and all their ilk are wrong, and yet we watch American Idol. We glorify their banal emptiness, because MSN tells us too. Are we too stupid too survive? Is there any hope we will begin getting smarter again? Or is NASCAR, the Super Bowl and WWF all we care about?

Our values are upside down. When the government cuts spending, they cut schools, police, community programs. They still have their limos and perks. They don't cut oil company subsidies, tax breaks for corporations are on the rise. When corporations cut costs, they cut benefits; lunch rooms close, health care is minimized, workers are fired. For this, the CEO gets a raise. It seems pretty obvious where the money comes from, doesn't it. In the same way there is a direct correlation between record Oil Company profits and the prices at the pump, no matter how they spin it. Our public schools are designed to turn out minimum wage workers, who are barely literate. The Private Schools are only affordable by those already in the upper economic echelons.

There are so many factors at work that it is impracticable to design a cohesive theory that explains the mechanism, or even includes all of them. As we crowd closer together, we build larger psychological fences, between our neighbors, co-workers and strangers. Families have been moving apart for generations. There was a time, when children where exposed to elder points of view, and experience; when generations of people were born and died in the same town, even the same home. Our point of view has been narrowed by this, and other things. You will have to look up the study, it was a few years ago; but I remember it said the average news broadcast used a vocabulary of less than 600 words, that of a 3 year old. It is difficult to make a reasoned decision with a vocabulary of less than 600 words. It is hard to state the premise, at that level.

The gap is widening. The rich can afford to educate their children so they will be rich. The poor must hope that their kids don't wind up in jail, or worse, because public education can't help them. Health Care is much the same. The CEO of a Standard & Poor's 500 company had, on average, a 9.4 percent increase in pay over last year. The average worker's wage actually declined, due to the migration of highly paid skilled workers, losing the highly paid jobs and having to work at McDonald's. That's not to say that no "Average Joes" got a raise, but the technical and manufacturing sectors are in the crapper; primarily because of outsourcing. Socio-Economically, we are regressing.

As a culture we are losing literacy, we do not exercise our minds or judgment. We don't need to think, the news channels and politicians radiate spin into our brains, and tell us what to think. TV has taken the place of books. Reading is good exercise for the mind, TV is a brain cell burning opiate. What is the last thing you read? What is the last thing you read you read to your children? When is the last time you had a publicly educated clerk, count back change from a purchase? When is the last time you met one who could count back change?

So who can one count on to make these societal changes? We need to change so much. We need to give up the cars. We all know that, or we all should. If you don't understand why, you are part of the problem. We need to disassemble the two-party-electoral-college system that is so corrupt, and replace it with representative government. Adjustment and regulations won't do it, it needs to be replaced. We need to force the government to protect us from corporations, and provide education and health care to everyone. We need to force the issue of Solar Power, there is no excuse for the lack of it's use.

As a society, we have a collective conscience. When it is not being diverted by the latest celebrity bimbo or sports gangster, it is generally effective. We know what's right, we don't need a book, a cop, a judge, or a news reader to tell us. We know.

Even President Bush has a conscience, (which was last seen under a barstool in Lubbock, ca 1979). Cheney and Rumsfeld I'm not sure about, and Carl Rove, well obviously not. But almost every human has this ability, the laws of the land are based on it. We know what's right and we can do something about it. It's not too big to tackle, much like eating an elephant, you must take little bites. Each and every one of us can do something.

Join a neighborhood organization, or start one. Find an empty lot and clean it up, start a community garden. Talk to your neighbors, create friends. Be nice to people, be polite to strangers. Take your children to a museum, ask the neighbors if they want to come and bring their children. Turn off the television. Take a class at community college, or teach one. Make something with your hands, and give it as a gift. Learn to play an instrument.

Make it a game:
Talk to your friends and family about politics without mentioning one thing you saw on television.

Start a blog that doesn't mention Brittany and has nothing to do with Star Wars.

Have a research race with your kids. See how fast you can dig up information on a topic, especially one that interests your kids. Talk about how accurate it is. Do it online and at the library.

Start small, make little changes and help increase awareness. We have to do this, each of us in our own way. The government won't change it, they are part of the problem. The politicians are a bigger part; write letters, sign petitions (after you read them), VOTE. The corporations won't help, to a very large degree they are the enemy. Start your own company. Stop shopping at WalMart, for anything, forever. Start your own company. Get your shop to go union.

We are the reason this country exists. It's not for the government, most of the framers of the constitution were trying to prevent the very kind of government we have now. It is not for the corporations, they have done their best to eradicate everything this country stood for. They don't care about anything but profit. It's not for the news media who claim special rights to "keep the people informed" and sell us lies and condoms, but never give us real information. None of them can do without us. We the people are the reason.