Where do we go from here?

I’m not sure voting can get us out of this mess we’re in, but not voting certainly won’t.


We live in an empire in decline. In fact, this is far from the early stages of collapse.
I don’t know if we can stop it now, especially since those at the top won’t act on any of the emergencies we face.
We have refused to fix health care, even as tens of thousands of people die each year.
We refuse to act on climate change, even though scientists say if we don’t, this planet will become uninhabitable for humans. My great-grandchildren could be the among the last generation of humans who can live on this planet.
Our elections have become so rigged thanks to big money that our votes in some districts are next to meaningless.
The number of people living in poverty grows each year because we refuse to make business pay employees a fair wage. And poverty is lethal in too many cases.
Our infrastructure is crumbling and we refuse to invest anything to fix it.
I don’t expect any action against the criminal regime now occupying the White House, no matter what kinds of crimes are uncovered. In other words, we’re screwed and elections might not be able to save us.
Our obsession with military spending exacerbates all our other problems because we can’t pay to fix anything if we don’t stop investing in war.
But war is extremely profitable. That’s why the United States has been at war for almost all of its history.
And we can’t pay for anything until we get the wealthy to pay taxes again.
I’m not sure what we need to do, but we’d better do it fast.
I think impeachment needs to happen, but I doubt it will, no matter what kinds of crimes are uncovered. The Republicans in the Senate and those of both parties in the House who refuse to take any action against the crimes being committed, or the criminal committing them, are the ones to blame here. But they might lose campaign donations, so our lives, our county, our very existence, take a back seat to these campaign donations.
Nothing will happen unless we the people demand that it happen.
A phone call or an e-mail won’t do the trick. They ignore us. We can dial the phone or tap the keyboard until our fingers bleed, but they won’t listen because they believe the system is sufficiently rigged so that they can’t lose.
My two senators and my “representative” refuse to speak to me.
Thom Tillis’s people have actually hung up on me, and when Tillis was here as leader of the NC Senate, he had me arrested twice for trying to talk to him about health care.
Mark Meadows refuses me entry into his town halls.
Richard Burr won’t even allow me an appointment to speak to a member of his staff.
I’m afraid that even if we get a terrific turnout at the polls in 2020, we still won’t have enough of an effect to get the changes we absolutely need to see as quickly as we need to see them.
If we’re going to have an effect, we must take to the streets.
On May 1, this state’s teachers and the Poor People’s Campaign will march on Raleigh. We’re hoping to see tens of thousands of people on Halifax Mall outside of the General Assembly Building. If you want to see change, I expect to see you there.
If you recall, the Moral Monday Movement changed public opinion on our politicians here in North Carolina, but even with all that, we still have a Republican majority on the legislature here, although it no longer is a veto-proof majority, and we have a Democratic governor now.
Change takes time, and I’m not sure we have enough time left to us to fix this.
Also, don’t think this one rally will change anything. We need to combine direct action with a demand for fair elections, and then we all need to vote, and I mean every damn one of us. Vote for the person of your choice — it IS your vote after all — but vote.
And keep showing up. I’ve been doing health care activism for 11 years now and little has happened, but if I give up, I’m afraid we’re all screwed.
This is an emergency of epic proportions. If we can’t make change, and I mean really fast, we truly are doomed, not just politically, but literally.

When jobs mattered

I went to Cleveland, Tenn., this week to watch my granddaughter dance in a national competition, and on the way back I decided to do a little sightseeing.

US Route 74 travels along the Oconee River for awhile, the site of three dams built in the 1930s by the Tennessee Valley Authority. The first one (the westernmost) is the biggest, so I stopped to look and take a couple of pictures.

Standing by the map of the TVA dams was an older man who was telling everyone how his father helped to build this and several other dams in the region. He pointed some of the dams out, describing the work his father had done.

“Got to the point he knew as much about building dams as anyone,” he said. “He was gone a lot, but we had food and a place to live.”

Building these dams and other projects, including the Blue Ridge Parkway, were a way to put people back to work during the Great Depression.

The jobless rate now is approaching what it was then, if you count all the people who have been unemployed longer than 99 weeks and aren’t part of the statistics, plus the people who have had their hours cut back from 30 to 10 because they work part-time and have no bargaining rights. And let’s not forget the people who are working at menial jobs for $8 an hour because they can’t find anything in their field.

Last week, Congress and the President made matters worse by codifying the Republican desire to withhold money and services from the people who need them instead of increasing taxes on people who can well afford to pay.

There will be no TVA for this job crisis, no Works Progress Administration, Blue Ridge Parkway or schools construction. The current Congress believes it’s better to squeeze the poor and let our nation’s infrastructure crumble, our electrical grid disintegrate and our people starve.

If we don’t care that people are losing their homes at an alarming rate and that children are going to bed hungry, then we ought to care about national security. How can we as a nation compete in a global market when our roads and bridges are unsafe and our electrical grid antiquated? Our children’s education is lacking and it’s getting worse as budgets are cut at the local, state and national levels.

Once upon a time, we cared that people were out of work and that we needed a better power grid and roads. We spent money on those things and built a great nation that could compete and even excell on every level. We trained engineers and laborers and we built roads, dams and electrical lines. These jobs weren’t just busy-work, they were important, and much of the word done during the 1930s stands today as a testament to the power of government to make people’s lives better.

It’s awe-inspiring to look at the Oconee 1 Dam and know that families were housed and fed because of the honest work its construction provided.

Today, the richest Americans hoard their wealth and ignore the needs of working people as the nation crumbles around them.

Patriotic? I thimk not

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