NIMBY

  • Congress … they’re all crooks!  Except my representative…
  • Government entitlement programs need to be cut!  Except my Medicare/SS…
  • I’m totally against “pork-barrel” projects!  Except for the ones for my community (that keeps me voting for my legislator who “brought home the bacon”)
  • Bullying and drug use in the schools is becoming rampant…just not in my school, or by my kids (or kids they know…)
  • The people who got mortgages they knew they couldn’t afford need to be held responsible for that as part of fixing the housing problem…except in my case…
  • We need to move from our dependency on oil to cleaner and more renewable energy sources…except don’t ask me to pay a little more at the pump to make the move a reality

See it?  There’s a clear pattern of deflecting responsibility for what we know is wrong and needs to be changed….but not by “me”…by someone else.

And there lies the crux of our stagnation…our gridlock.  You see, Congress, your school board, and all other democratically elected bodies, are in fact a reflection of us, as it was meant to be.  When you look at them, and what they’re doing badly, or not doing at all, you are looking in the mirror.

Once we get that, we’ll get change for the better.

Dem’s, Rep’s & Money for Winning

Mid-term election season is in full swing…yea…

I say that somewhat sardonically because as much as I consider voting a deep privilege that I will never regard as unworthy of my time and attention (or, as in my rantings on the August 15th show, as a means of protest by not doing it…sheeesh, how ineffective is that?!), it’s distinctly about who has the most money, not who has the best leadership platform.

Unfortunate, given that there’s quite a few candidates providing a terrific alternative to both our very tired 2-party system, and/or ye olde politics as usual within it, who will never see anything but the visitors bathrooms in the US or their State Capitol because they simply have insufficient funds to compete.

But, hey, in a capitalist society, that’s how things get done…with money…and lots of it.

Of the two parties, well-connected Republicans tend to win the money-raising contest with their eyes closed (and their hands wide open…).  The reason:

  • Republicans represent the interests of business and the wealthy, primarily – both having deep and gold-lined pockets
  • Democrats primarily represent the interests of the poor, the disenfranchised, and the elderly – all with no pockets, and even less voice

Democrats too have both hands open for business…the only problem is their monied constituency is much more limited.

Yet Obama set records for his fund-raising in 2008 – winning him the election.  Huh?!  How can that happen given this equation?

He filled his coffers one $5 – $10 donation at a time.  The Teaparty is doing the same. It’s the power of numbers over the power of “numbers”.

So, anyone who believes the power of the “little people” can’t match or even surpass the power of Big Pharma, Big Biz, and Big Wigs, rent “Erin Brockovich”, revisit the 2008 Presidential election, and then make your little donation to your “underdog” candidate – and tell everyone you know to do the same.

History has proven that it really adds up....and it works.

Want Economic Recovery? Then Ensure a Strong Middle Class

Did you know that in the late ’70’s, the wealthiest 1% of Americans took in 9% of the nation’s total income; in 2007 that same 1% took in 24%?

By economic standards, 1% of the population having almost 25% of all income is telling…the last time there was such a concentration of income at the top…was 1928, according to Robert Reich, Professor of Public Policy at UC Berkeley, and former Secretary of Labor.  It’s a troubling indicator at best; at worst it’s our last warning that unless we mount of major comeback of America’s middle class, we are in economic hot water, and cooking fast.

Why?  Because the rich spend less relative to their income, and invest wherever they can find the best rate…which is often overseas.  Therefore they do the least for the American economy, vs. those of us in the middle class, who spend a much larger portion of our income (because we are always striving for a better life…good for us!) so we are a boon to the economy, and we invest right here in the good ol’ USA.

According to Mr. Reich, the programs after the Great Depression moved the economy back to a more “widely shared prosperity” from the initiation of Social Security so the elderly were not longer living in abject poverty, to infrastructure-building programs that paid folks a decent wage while getting them back to work, and the mandating of the 40 hour work week with paid overtime so folks were making a decent living wage.  The GI Bill at the end of WWII got returning Vets the education they needed to improve their job prospects, again giving a burgeoning middle class the boost it needed to thrive and prosper.

However we do this, and it is not an “either/or” proposition but an “and/both” – a combination of business tax breaks, job creating programs, and the closing of tax loopholes so everyone is paying their fair share relevant to size of income – the squeezing out of the middle class must stop.   Not just to ensure a full and faster economic recovery, though.  The middle class has always been the spine of America; and it is what our revolution was designed to ensure, that all citizens can have a better life, not just the exceptionally wealthy, many of whom today get there perhaps not under the most ethical of conditions.

Get behind legislation that is designed to bring health to the middle class, and legislators who understand that this is the missing piece to s0lving our nation’s woes (not just economic, but social through the reduction of fear that drives so much of what is polarizing us right now), and you will be part of a common sense solution that we can pass down to future generations.

Restoring Honor…Boomer Style

This is an excerpt from a chapter of my soon to be released book Is That My Light at the End of the Tunnel? that speaks directly to what we Boomers can and must do to find our “lights” at the end of our “tunnels” – this one relating well to the notion of restoring what’s been lost:

Boomers, Unite!

Yeah, right….  We are about as single-minded on how to individually handle the important issues I’ve raised in our “tunnels” as are the Europeans on how to run their Union.

But, that said, there are some basic concepts which I believe the vast majority of us can comfortably get behind, and on which we can build our comeback.

These are the aspects of our Flower Power revolution (even without the LSD) that are a combination of common sense, common kindness, and the underpinnings of all the major world religions.  They are:

  • Living your beliefs while allowing others to live theirs (e.g. walk the talk…no finger pointing)
  • Being kind to our planet, and those less fortunate than ourselves
  • Actively rejecting any form of tyranny
  • Standing up against abuse and exploitation of other humans (which, according to Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Weisel, was the correct reason for invading Iraq), and other species
  • Having one martini a night to get us through all of this (just checking to see if you were paying attention…)
  • Finding government and corporate deceit unacceptable
  • Believing in the power of love, from being non-judgmental of others’ lives to eschewing meanness

So, when it comes down to it, here’s the “honor” we must restore right now, associated with grinding issues we’re facing at this moment, based on the above ideals – we’ve lost track of them, and with our great influence/power must ensure we find again:

  • As the most educated generation alive today, start using our great brains to learn and work with the facts, whether we like those facts or not;
  • Remember and reclaim what we believed in our youth: love conquering hate, & equality for all (thus our fight for women’s/civil rights, eliminating discrimination in housing & hiring, etc.); to abandon those society-altering-for-the-better ideals with our Muslim neighbors because of their radical minority (hey, Christians have the KKK & Neo-Nazis) is beneath us;
  • Another reclamation from our youth: refusing to accept the poor behavior of “the man” we so reviled back then…which, by the way, is now us…we became “the man” (we are the ones in charge of most big corporations, and governments) – we can and must rise up against our own generations’ misdeeds, greediness, & complete lack of interest in the greater good.
  • Although history debates the motivation for our society-bettering deeds back then…was it out of pessimism or optimism? – I say it was a combination of both…pessimism about the direction our nation/world had taken, and optimism that if we fought hard enough we could change it.  In our age-related crankiness we have lost our optimism, settling comfortably into a world-view based too much on fear and self-protection.  Opening up our minds and hearts again is imperative if we hope to make changes that are for the better.

Do these things, and our honor – as the generation that historically made a greater impact on social change than any other in the history of our nation – will indeed be restored.