HomeEconomyNow What?

I was a bit apprehensive when I posted the essay by Chris Hedges, for it is a pessimistic, gloomy article that, as several friends wrote me privately, focuses on the probable outcome of our present difficulties if we don’t change. Those who responded said that while they had no difficulty reading gloomy articles, there was no point in reading such essays if there were no solutions offered. And Chris Hedges offered no solutions.

So, taking that feedback to heart, I’ve found three articles that do offer solutions to our difficulties. Not surprisingly, the solutions do not center on anything Obama or Washington can do. While Obama campaigned on the theme of change, now that he is in Washington, he is being “re-educated” (as in the notorious Communist re-education camps) to show him the error of his ways. It is up to us, who elected him on a desire to see change, to show him how to proceed.

The first article that I’d like to share with you is by one of my favorite writers, Sara Robinson. In her opening sentences, she makes the very important point that the wrangling that we are witnessing in Congress is over whether or not the Republican policies of the last 30 years are intellectually bankrupt or not. They are. End of story. I’ve posted articles by Sara before, but this time, I’m going to link to the source because there are a lot more good ideas on the site where she published her article. Just because we elected Obama doesn’t mean that we can disengage from politics and go back to what we were doing – we have to stay on top of the situation and keep demanding the change we voted for. The elites that run this country will not give up their power voluntarily – they must be forced to yield to our will.

The second article is by Phyllis Huster, who is running as a progressive Democrat in Washington’s 5th State Senate district. In her essay, she argues for continuing the very thing that got Obama elected: bottoms up politics. She believes that We The People are smarter than They The Politicians and offers some ideas of how to seize control of the debate.

The third article is by Rebecca Solnit and is posted on TomDispatch. It is about what is happening in Iceland right now – the first economy to collapse in the financial crisis. I’m not saying that America is equivalent to Iceland, but some of what Iceland is going through is going to have to happen here if we truly want a more just society and a thoroughgoing rejection of the policies that got us here.

It isn’t going to be easy. We are in difficult times and we have to make some difficult decisions, but the past 30 years have shown me that those in Washington, State capitols, and county governments work for our enemies, not our friends. It is way past time to take back our country from those who have ruined it.

Updated at 2:15 p.m. to add third article.


Now What? — 5 Comments

  1. Yes, good articles.

    That’s one reason why Obama is all about education and giving opportunities to the poor–so we can get rid of some of these prison costs. I used to get mad when I’d hear what we’re spending on schools. Even though I have children. I thought it wasn’t fair to people who didn’t have kids. But now I realize if my neighbor’s kid gets educated, he’s going to become a good member of the community and make it better, he’s not likely to steal from me and I’m not going to be paying to put him in jail. It’s looking at the big picture, the long-term picture. We need education. We need health care. Our people need to be smart and healthy if our country is going to be smart and healthy.

    And yes June, let’s decriminalize some things. Like pot. I don’t smoke it. But I think it’s ridiculous that people go to jail for it. It’s probably the most harmless drug, certainly more benign than alcohol.


  2. Good articles. I particularly liked the Sara Robinson piece. All the ideas sound good, but the one re prisons really hit home. That was my field and I can assure you it’s a costly venture. I have always said it made no sense to pour money into criminal justice while leaving the schools underfunded. Similar thought: why do we agree to spending $30K (I’m sure more now) a year to house an inmate yet balk at giving each child a scholarship trust fund? And while we’re at it, lets decriminalize some things. I could go on for hours…

  3. Thank you for this post, Jeff, and for the very interesting links. Some great ideas there—I hope President Obama and his staff actually read some of this. I do think that it is going to take change far more radical that what Obama proposes to really make a difference. I’m all for taking back our country, but the corrupt are so firmly entrenched and there are so many rats in the barn, I’m just not sure how to do it. Sometimes, I think we all need to march on Washington at once and stop all activity there in its tracks and not leave until we get what we want.

  4. “While Obama campaigned on the theme of change, now that he is in Washington, he is being “re-educated” (as in the notorious Communist re-education camps) to show him the error of his ways.”

    And who is it that is re-educating him? Therein lies the problem…. If our presidents do not toe the line, what then… are they assassinated as Kennedy was?

    • Well, maybe “co-optation” is a better word to use. I don’t doubt that Obama has good intentions but now that he is in the cesspool, it is going to be hard to make good on his intentions. There are too many “insiders” in his administration, insiders that have no compassion for the ordinary American. God forbid that Obama is assassinated – that will result in blood in the streets and a lot of wealthy people fearing for their lives.

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