I’m a pretty well-informed person. I read news stories, blogs, op-eds, and get friends’ thoughts on the issues in America (and the world) in 2013 and beyond. So I’m pretty well able to form my own opinions and articulate them relatively clearly.
What I don’t know is what the hell to do about them that will actually make a difference.
You know the problems as well as I do. Here’s a partial list:
- We have 25 people –including 20 young school children — killed by gun violence while in school and we still can’t do anything about it, because the NRA owns Congress. So now the NRA, feeling its oats, is proposing placing armed guards in schools, and arming teachers. The city council in Nelson, Georgia — and I swear I’m not making this up — voted 5-0 to make gun ownership mandatory. Unless the members of the family opt out. The level of idiocy in this is simply breathtaking. How does any of this remotely make sense?
- The manufactured deficit crisis, leading to the sequester: This is directly related to the fact that most of our leaders (and I blame both Democrats and Republicans on this, but the Republicans are much, much worse on this) take really good care of the rich in this country. After all, that’s where the campaign cash comes from, and those are the people who can afford the lobbyists. Meanwhile, the little guy keeps getting the shaft. The Republicans claim victory on the sequester, too, which is absolutely crazy. At the same time they’re saying that the cuts are bad, bad, bad. No wonder they’re so out of touch. The latest news on this: Cancer clinics are turning away Medicare patients because of the sequester. Can someone explain to me how this is good policy, or how it’s even humane? Because I don’t see how it could be. I can’t see how it’s moral or right, either, but that’s another story.
- Women’s health and the right to choose: States continue to pare back a woman’s right to control her body. I wrote a post on this last August. I don’t want to re-litigate it here.
- Republicans in North Carolina wants to declare a state religion. Obviously, this is unconstitutional, but that people would actually try this in 2013 just boggles my mind.
- The Obama Administration is considering a trade agreement with the European Union that would give corporations just what they need — more power (yes, I’m being sarcastic). This is another one of those policy ideas that I just can’t understand. Corporations have too much power in this world; they certainly don’t need more.
- The heartbreaking struggle (If you haven’t seen the film that I’m linking to here, you should; it’s a documentary that aired on HBO … I was in tears watching it) that so many people are going through in this country with long-term unemployment (while corporations sit on an unprecedented amount of cash, don’t hire enough people, and only manage to the bottom line). The only mobility in this country is downward, unless you’re incredibly rich. The middle class is being decimated. It’s pretty plain that a strong middle class, and the poor actually being able to improve their situation, is vital to a strong economy. All the growth is being concentrated with the rich. None of it is “trickling down.” Did we learn nothing from the last 30 years? Did we learn nothing from the last Gilded Age?
- The gerrymandered to death congressional districts that pretty well rigged elections for the next decade.
- The voting rights act that is under review in the Supreme Court that could turn back the gains made there over the past 45 or 50 years.
- Taxpayer-subsidized banks and oil companies.
I’ve left out all kinds of things in this list, I know — everything from gay rights, to protection for women against being raped and mandating that rape kits are actually processed, to equal pay for equal work, to the crumbling infrastructure, to the crippling student debt that so many are buried under … the list could go on and on. America is in sorry shape. (And I want to blast Republicans in general for their general wing-nuttery, but that’s another post.)
So my question is this: What the hell do we do about it? What would actually make a difference? Because I really don’t know.
We saw the Occupy movement fall apart and fade away after some serious police brutality and the weather changing. Newspapers are failing and being consolidated. (I can’t find a citation right now, but I read that there’s something like four or five corporations that control nearly all of the media in this country.)
I’m really concerned about my son’s future. How is he going to get ahead in this country when it’s on this path?
So can someone tell me something to do that will actually make a difference?
Update 4/12/13 — I had dinner with a friend last night. She said that to change it, you have to run for office. I pretty much dismissed that out of hand; I don’t really have much interest in running for office. I don’t want to join to politician class and become part of the problem. Smarter people than I am have tried and got sucked in. I’m watching people like Elizabeth Warren pretty closely. I hope she and others like her can make a difference.