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Saturday, November 26, 2011

What steps can we take to get economic fairness?

Following along with the last post, I want to suggest some of the things that I think we can do to get our country back on the right path (and also welcome other ideas from readers who may not see it the same way). Writing about this is hard to keep cultural and not partisan. It's also hard for me not to make everybody mad-- on both sides of the current divide. It's a lot easier to be someone who follows one ideology rather than to think for yourself (right or wrong) and end up making one-third of the people mad every time you express your own ideas).

If you don't live in a bubble, you know that we have a country divided. One-third wants one thing, one-third wants another, and one-third isn't sure what the heck is going on but it better not interfere with their games and television programs.

If you are one of those who care, I present some possible actions you can take.  If you have totally given up, say you won't vote, don't donate, don't work for any cause, might I suggest immigrating although I rather doubt you'll find human nature different anywhere else.

I do NOT believe we cannot make our government work. I do NOT believe in revolution. I do NOT want the loudest persons to take over our businesses, public schools or government offices without at least winning the vote. I do believe in government and see much need for there to be a strong one-- but one that is accountable to the people. I DO believe there are things we can do that will get it back for us and do it using our Constitutional rights.

Here's the thing on government and business. Currently both are being painted as the bad guys depending on what pundit you turn on. The evil is government-- give business total power and you will see Utopia reborn (not that it ever existed). The evil is business-- give government rigid controls over it and voila you experience nirvana.

Both are wrong. Business (you can substitute government also) with no controls will concern itself only with gaining more power for itself. Business is not evil. The people on Wall Street are not evil. They are shortsighted and think that what they do to benefit themselves with the help of government regulations being pulled back is the right thing to do. They don't look at the long range and it's up to somebody else to limit their powers.

We just watched 1982's 'The Scarlet Pimpernel,' which, in my opinion, short of reading Baroness Orczy's books, is the gold standard for Scarlet Pimpernels; but whatever version you see, the story is about a culture that has been convinced all the evil is in the wealthy and rich classes of people. Sound familiar? Well our people aren't about to get out the guillotine, character assassination is more our thing. Pretty much, in history, there is always a sector that will encourage mobs to go toward violent solutions as they then will use it as their own chance to gain power. Seriously get that film through Netflix and rewatch it as I imagine most have seen it before. The 1982 version with Anthony Andrews and Jane Seymour is a good reminder of what can happen to a culture when it gets out of whack-- also a warning to those who ruthlessly amass power with no concern for others.

In our country, some even got elected into office just to destroy our government's ability to do anything. Some work to block any sort of regulations on business. Business and government are both hero and villain in the same story but depending on from which side someone is viewing it. I think they go together actually for whether they really are good or bad. They are both in need of oversight and require a populace who cares and pays attention. 

So anyway, I have some ideas that I think would help us get our situation under our control. They come in no particular order of importance but just as I am thinking of them while at this keyboard.

Be informed or don't donate money to any cause. Do not sign any petition and definitely do not make phone calls if you don't know the full situation. There are a ton of those floating around right now to tell you to call here, petition there, and donate donate donate. Even though the callers doubtless mean well, they are screaming loudly the sky is falling and can you help pay to prop it up. They are told what to say, sometimes paid to say it. But it's up to you to be informed or not go along with it.  Find out what the 'others' are saying about it. If you don't, you can do more damage than the 1/3 who are sitting home watching their television. These calls use facts often loosely and are aimed at getting power for their side. It's not that hard today to find out what's fully going on before you run around like a chicken with its head cut off-- and I've seen chickens do that-- it accomplishes nothing.

So, if you are informed, donate but don't worry if it's a lot of money. The thing is the politician, who you have researched and know stands for your causes, he/she needs to have numbers to show power. Those demonstrations or going to hear them speak, they are looked at as significant. Getting together legally to demonstrate is a good thing-- if you know what you want from it. When they have a million followers, that's a big deal. So your $10 is significant. Of course, it puts you on their donor list, hence those calls above and being informed and not signing that petition etc. etc.

Now this isn't just about government. It is also about business that has lost controls thanks to their own manipulations and their own if I can do it, it must be fair actions. So how to put pressure on them? Well watching The Scarlett Pimpernel should be required viewing in banking seminars as it shows you can only push a people so far before something really ugly erupts. That doesn't make it okay to have these revolutions. I think everybody loses; but since business is determined only the dollar decides their actions, there are things citizens can do to put pressure on them short of picketing their homes and trying to shut down businesses on the street and much much short of Madam Guillotine.

Take your money out of big banks and put it in small ones and credit unions. Frankly I favor having it in a mix of two because it is safer if this whole thing does fall apart. Keep some cash on hand too or trade goods. Protect yourselves.

If you do not though likewise put pressure on your Congress to get better regulations in place, the small banks will become large and voila, you are back where you were. So changing banks is a pressure tactic but human beings being human beings, there must be government regulation in place to limit banking behaviors or it's kind of a tiresome process... and if you guillotine them, it's hard to find others who know how to run banks; so think long and hard on that one.

Buy something from a small business on November 26th but keep on doing it past the day set up for it. It might cost a bit more to support small business but is this supposed to get changed with no sacrifice? Reading labels is good  but frankly we sent so much of our clothing manufacturing overseas that it's pretty hard to find anything made in the USA-- even jeans.

For those of us who are Democrats, let's take back our party from the establishment. Sadly to say the Republicans already started that process with their insistence on Tea Party orthodoxy; so here we are now with needing to elect people who are hard line lefties to counteract that. Woe unto a moderate in today's political climate.

We get in new leaders by supporting alternative candidates in the primaries for the House and Senate. Yes, your guy has been delivering pork but unless he's also been fighting for progressive causes, dump him. It will take a bit of jaw clenching but give that OWS person a chance and keep doing it as they turn out to be just as greedy once they get there as the one they replaced.

We do NOT need a revolution in this country. We just need to occupy the government we already have. It can be fixed just fine with the right people in office, those who have energy, responsible ideas (in other words if you want to have it, you have to figure out how to pay for it) and can think long-sighted-- something in short supply these days.

If he runs (not a given right now) eventually donate to Obama (give me a break like what's the alternative if you believe in progressive values); but wait a bit on that and let him know what you expect. We fairly often get calls asking us to donate to him right now and we always take time to speak to the caller and tell them why we are holding off.

We tell them all, any political calls asking for money, that our main concern right now is taking back Congress. The Tea Party got in their people and if you don't like what they are doing, get in yours!

Pay attention to the Republican primaries. Those guys are telling you what they will do if elected president. Look at the words they say today, when they want the Tea Party voter, versus what they have been saying and what they will say if they get the nomination.

It is hard for me to believe Republican voters will really choose the totally corrupt and superficially slick talking Gingrich; so I think Romney still appears most likely-- not that he wouldn't sell out his brother to get that office. Just once, why doesn't someone ask him in one of those debates how he'd pay for that new war in Iran which he virtually promised he'd start. Can anybody trust he won't also support, once in office, say a national personhood bill like Mississippi's? And Gingrich, don't get me started on him. I'll save that for Rainy Day Things after Thanksgiving.

Look for candidates who write, can speak, and indicate they understand how trade policies have contributed to this economic disaster, who believe in progressive taxation but not to the point of  confiscation. There are tax policies that would punish sending manufacturing overseas and reward having jobs here. Look into what they are-- then support those who would work toward that.

Support candidates who believe in reaffirming our Bill of Rights and not some meaningless sentiment on our currency. For God's sake really, that's what they thought mattered when the document that our Founders gave has been eaten away at in the name of safety-- supposedly anyway *gagging*. You do not give up your rights just because someone convinced you the sky was falling.  People who sell those rights for their personal security don't deserve this country nor those who died to preserve it.

Vote for those who know a corporation is not a single voter and doesn't deserve those rights. If it takes a Constitutional Amendment to overthrow that dreadful Supreme Court decision, research what this means, then sign petitions and support that drive. That this business of considering corporations to be the same as any single voter, that it would even be debated is a sign of the nuttiness of our times. The owners of that corporation already are voters, can already donate as individuals. Now, even if they are part of a foreign conglomerate, we are giving them a second personhood?

I believe in a mix of capitalism and socialism and when someone says they can't go together, it means they can't think outside the box. We need people who can think outside the box because it is there that solutions will be found to new problems.

So, despite the naysayers, I do not believe it is too late to get our government back. We are not Egypt who needs to do that with a gun. We are a country with the vote. We won't do it though with the current crew in office. If your own guy is fighting for progressive values, fine, keep him but be sure you know how he votes. Robert Reich (boy do I disagree with him a lot these days but he was right on this) called for an Occupy Democracy.

Oh I know it's showy to sit on sidewalks or camp in parks and get pepper sprayed where you can get on television and eventually sue over it happening. It might seem satisfying to watch people screaming at the police, but it won't turn this country around. There are things that can be done by progressive leaders if we get them in power. The other method will only lead to anarchy (as said above-- watch The Scarlett Pimpernel 1982 version for a good film and a reminder why you don't want anarchy).

You know, it might sound good, but if you really had these occupiers take over Wall Street, would they have any idea how to do it? What would that do to people's savings and investments? Let's get real about this and realize it's not just about making noise but about accomplishing something that works.

If you really divided up what everybody has in this country-- and that includes you-- you'd have less than you currently do, and some of those who got what you worked for and saved to get, they will not appreciate it and quickly lose it. It's how it goes. You see it time and again with the lottery winners. Some use their money wisely. Some go through it like it was water. That's what they call human nature.

Finally, anarchy might be what some want but I got some news for them. There is another side in this country-- one that buys AK47s and believes exactly the opposite things should be done. If you think this cannot descend into out and out civil war, you aren't paying attention to either history or what is going on right now.

Photo of Bannack, Montana, a silver mining camp in the late 1800s and today a ghost town. Sometimes a community just does cease to exist.

1 comment:

Fran aka Redondowriter said...

This is a brilliant piece of logic and writing, Rain. I'm going to link it to Facebook. Brava!