Tripped up by a few bits of emotional gravel the past few weeks, I have been quietly focusing on slowing things back down to one-minute-at-a-time-if-that-is-what-it-takes mantras. Don’t really want to spoil my success with long winded posts about the noise in my head; I have a lot of material to write and edit, but this week it is way more important to me to be making the ferry on time wearing a proper work outfit and a polished face of make-up.
That being acknowledged, current events seem ever more pressing in our hyperspeed electronic world so I cannot wait to get over myself to do a little politics updating.** In the face of the union v. Governor stand-off in Wisconsin (Day 22!) and several other states dealing with similar budget issues that Republican and Tea Party backed politicians want to resolve by busting unions (first public employees, then private companies sure to follow), cutting taxes for corporations and imposing backdoor tax increases on the poor and middle class. They are using the argument that it is about the budget (cue freak-outs!!!) and that the only way they can solve the problem of massive deficits in state coffers is to not collectively bargain with public employees (police, firefighters and teachers make up the biggest parts of the budgets) because they need all this power to make budget cutting decisions on the fly. Um, NO.
In the past year or so, the Republicans (and some Dems too to be perfectly honest) were gaining traction with the strategy of having all of us tearing each other to shreds. There was never a better example of government abuse than here in California in the relatively small town of Bell. A few greedy and frankly very stupid people got themselves elected to the city council and then began to basically embezzle municipal taxes to pay themselves huge salaries and pensions. This went on for years. Once the financial crisis hit and there was no tax money to pay themselves and the numbers did not add up, citizens were disgusted and shocked to find they had been bilked by these jerks. The media meantime had been running with one side of the story, villainizing public servants and lumping them all into this bad batch. But then, a funny thing happened. People remembered they have the right to vote. Unlike in a private company where the CEO and Board can decide everything down to the penny of how much to underpay their workers and overpay themselves not to mention lay people off at will, the citizens of Bell used their VOTES to oust these jackholes. In the recall election today in Bell, OVER NINETY FIVE PER CENT OF THE REGISTERED VOTERS turned out and overwhelmingly elected a new council!!! The last election only had about 10% turnout. This is no coincidence. Voting is extremely powerful. Give ’em hell voters!!!!
Finally, tonight as I was getting ready for my run, I had Rachel Maddow on in the background, feeling very proud of her on International Women’s Day. Her segment on the possible turn of events in favor of the workers in Wisconsin perked me right up and then, even more awesomely, her guest was another powerhouse woman, author Naomi Klein. Naomi’s current book is called “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism” and outlines the way that far-right billionaires have been creating policies and plans for the past 30 years to invalidate government for the people it is supposed to serve and instead exist only to prop up the 2% who own 98% of our wealth. Am I over-simplifying? Yes. But am I wrong? No. The good news is that people are finally waking up that this is NOT okay.
The link to the interview is here. Please scroll ahead to the 4:00 mark and let Ms. Klein explain it. My favorite quote (transcribed poorly) is below:
“Crisis was created on Wall Street, that was moved to Main Street and this crisis as we know was deepened by the policy decisions that were made. The decision to bailout banks instead of homeowners, instead of bailing out workers, and what that means is that your tax base collapses. So your tax base collapsed and now we have to pay for the crisis again. First we paid for it with bailouts and now we are paying for it with budget cuts.”
The crisis as they describe is not really real my friends. The money is with the banks and corporations who CAUSED it. FIGHT people FIGHT!!! We can make THEM pay and we can win.
** this is for you, Echeve. :-) thanks for encouraging me to write some politics. I pretend I am just telling you!