Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Room for hope and hopelessness--3 key challenges we face....

“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” 
                   ― Dietrich Bonhoeffer

So I've been a bit hopeful of late (see moral monday's) and also hopeless (see about everything else) on the political front.

I've caught some good links today to check out
Teamster Nation: How about restoring taxpayer control over public assets?
 Now We Are Way Too Excited About Campaign Finance Skepticism | Next New Deal 
Economic Policy Institute: Government–Not Business–Has Been the Source of Breakthrough Innovation  
Secret government: America against democracy | The Economist  
 Memories of Stasi color Germans’ view of U.S. surveillance programs 
Todd Gitlin, Are "Intelligence" and Instigation Running Riot? | TomDispatch 
 A Very Brief History Of The American Left  
From massive unemployment, to the national security state effort to spy on US citizens; the fact that people don't have their pitchforks out speaks to the massive political demobilization of working people in this country.

The number of Obama supporters who aren't batting an eye at something that would likely have them up in arms if Bush had gotten got in Snowdens snares disappoints me, scares me in fact as it speaks to an inability within the political party that I more often than not dwell to understand that those with power need to have checks and balances on their power.  I tend to believe one shouldn't need reminding of this fact.  But far too many are okay with exploitation of power and usage of imperialism and Empire when "the right team" is in charge.

But I want to go back to basics of the challenge in front of us rather than dwell in apathy and thunderous fist tweeting.

What are some of the key challenges I see in front of us?

1.  Most people are not well versed in the issues facing us 
2.  The ability of individuals to act collectively to influence power has vanished
3.  Failure to hold policymakers accountable for the economic despair facing most of America
Recognition that the economic and social challenges we face before us were not inevitable, they were not due to immutable acts of nature, but came about through policy choices (3) is the one that sticks with me right now.  

The fact that we have people who made bad choices means that we have political leaders with whom one can point at and hold accountable.  But this holding to account that should be taking place is not taking place.

I think the elect Hilary Clinton movement is a perfect example of this.  The Clinton team have their fingerprints all over the economic decline--the policies which handed the keys to Wall Street and corporate America.  They also have their fingerprints all over the war in Iraq (the run up to the war under President Clinton where Iraq was made a hobgoblin and further isolated from the world; the unquestioning/failure to check the power and reach of the Bush administration via oversight under Clinton herself in the Senate).
This brings us back full circle to my (1)first point; according to the Facebook posts and conversations I have with friends (a very nonscientific dataset to be sure), people do not spend a lot of time learning about the background and history of the issues facing us--they simply have the talking heads and political leaders they trust, whom they eat and spit back out unquestioned the bullet point arguments provided to them via cable news and email.

I'm going to try to do some more blogging--which I've always thought of as "thinking outloud"--to unravel both my own disappointments, as well as confusions, and figure out stronger ways forward.  

Only by way of thinking outloud---making mistakes of logic, figuring out confusions of fact, fuming the pathologies of human frustrations; and then realizing one is wrong, misguided, or merely being childish--can I hopefully find more coherent positions and build a stronger foundation for understanding the world.  But not just should we be working to understand the world but work to build a better future via acting collectively with others within the social networks we dwell in.

If you've made it this far in my ramble you might as well watch Chris Hedges talk on Sheldon Wolin....

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