THERE ARE SO MANY GOOD REASONS TO HAVE HOPE: Adopting a Proven 2 STEP PROCESS to Beat What Ails America

 

 

Our nation has reached a point where our political, economic, social and environmental challenges seem overwhelming.   Here are just a few examples:

  • 50% of children in the U.S. live below or near the poverty line.   (Columbia University School of Public Health study here )
  • 20 individuals now have as much wealth as the poorest 150 million Americans –half the country (per The Nation magazine here ).
  • A study by the Atlantic found that 47% of Americans were economically insecure and couldn’t come up with $400 in an emergency (Article in the Atlantic:  “The Secret Shame of Middle Class America.” here )
  • According to a study published recently by CBS News, 78% of workers in America are now living paycheck to paycheck. And each year that percentage is increasing.  Article here .
  • The environment is clearly being damaged at a rapid pace.  In addition to climate change and pollution of our air, water and land, there is also alarming news like this: THE GUARDIAN: “Natural World Faces Collapse as Wildlife Population Plummets”
  • There have been more than 1500 mass shootings in the U.S. since Sandyhook. Detailed stats here.
  • Additionally, the enormous economic distress described above creates a climate that is historically conducive to the rise of fascism and racism (think about 1930’s Germany).

 

The severe problems above are occurring because the interests of corporations the wealthy are continually put above the interests of most of the people and the planet.   Corporations and the nation’s richest citizens have a disproportionate control over our Congress.  (If you doubt that, just see info here on Princeton study proving it).

The result of the undue influence of corporations on Congress is that policies that affect the many are being shaped to benefit only the few.  When the playing field is tilted, most of the marbles roll into the pockets of a relatively small number of people.   The problem of undue influence by corporations arises due to weak campaign finance laws and it, of course, affects more than our wallets. It also prevents passage of common sense gun regulations, healthcare reform, financial regulations and environmental regulations that are badly needed and have broad public support.

We see the catastrophic impact of this corruption on citizens and the environment in the bullet point list above.

But we should not despair.   This imbalance can be fixed.  We have the power to get rid of corruption and restore our republic so Congress represents the interests of all people (rather than just the wealthiest among us).

(Click here to see detail on the ONE POLICY that is causing many of the above problems).

 

BORROWING FROM SUCCESSFUL EFFORTS IN THE PAST, IT SEEMS THERE ARE TWO STEPS TO TURNING THIS THING AROUND:

 

1.  Transform our underlying assumptions and mindset.

2.  Utilize practical proven peaceful methods to alter our political, economic & social situation.

 

Once our underlying assumptions shift, then the political, economic and social pieces will fall into place much more quickly than we might imagine.  Our systems that appear so formidable and unchangeable are actually rotting from the inside out so, once we change our mindset (and thereby unite), those systems can be transformed more quickly than we think.  We can reshape those antiquated destructive systems into sustainable ones that nourish human beings and the earth rather than sucking them dry.

(Note:  Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi & Thich Nhat Hanh all stressed the two step process.  That’s, of course, where I borrowed the concept from).

 

SO, HERE’S AN EXAMPLE OF WHAT MIGHT BE STEP 1 (the vital intangible):    TRANSFORMING OUR MINDSET (Please click on this link).   It’s admittedly flawed and I’m no expert, but at least this perhaps gives a basis for discussion.

https://clearblueskyoutwest.com/2017/08/10/a-whole-new-view/

 

AND HERE MIGHT BE SOME EXAMPLES OF STEP 2  (the proven practical):   Utilize Practical Proven Methods to Alter Our Political, Economic & Social Situation  (see 7 examples below. . . A – G)

The harmful policies that put the interests of corporations above those of people and the planet can only survive when power is in the hands of just a few.  That concentration of power is maintained by a tiny percentage of the population because they exploit weak campaign finance regulations and buy members of Congress.  Those members of Congress then champion a narrow agenda that only benefits corporations and the super rich (leaving the planet and most of the population out in the cold).  It’s not government that’s the problem.  It’s HIJACKED government that’s the problem.

To unseat the hijackers, restore our republic and put power back in the hands of the MANY, we need to enact major legislation that:

– achieves serious campaign finance reform with teeth

– overturns the Citizens United Supreme Court decision

– ends “corporate personhood” legal status

– restores the Glass Steagall Act (It was a protection that was put in place after the Great Depression and it worked. It’s repeal by the Clinton administration is seen by many economists as setting the stage for the 2008 financial crisis).

– and puts in place other key protections to ensure that people and the planet come before quarterly corporate profits

 

“But can we really achieve all that? Do we really have any power?”

Yes.  Based on successes in the past, it seems we can and yes we probably have more power than we realize.  

Below are some examples of how we might turn things around.  They’re in no particular order and this certainly isn’t a comprehensive list.    Clearly these aren’t my ideas.  I’m just attempting to gather some of the thoughts and methods of others together in one spot to see what other people think:

 

a)  Jamila Raqib & Gene Sharp

jamila_raqib_10
This is Jamila Raqib.  Gene Sharp is her mentor.  Together, they have brought down oppressive regimes and dictators.   And their 198 nonviolent methods can be utilized here too.

 

Deposed dictators curse the name of Gene Sharp.    Sharp was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.  His 198 methods of non-violent resistance have helped topple autocrats around the world.

Perhaps it’s our turn to utilize these proven peaceful methods now that we can see our elected leaders are ignoring our pleas and are instead pursuing a corporate agenda friendly to their funders.   We can beat this:

LIST OF 198 METHODS AT THIS LINK:

http://www.aeinstein.org/nonviolentaction/198-methods-of-nonviolent-action/

GeneSharp

JAMILA RAQIB BRILLIANTLY SHOWS HOW WE CAN BEAT THIS WITH NONVIOLENT ACTION in this wonderful TED talk.    (Gene Sharp is Raqib’s mentor).

Here she puts it simply: “Nonviolent struggle works by destroying an opponent. Not physically but by identifying the institutions that an opponent needs to survive and then denying them those sources of power.” This will leave you feeling hopeful and empowered.    She explains that we can’t eliminate war by telling people it’s immoral.   Instead we need to offer them an even more powerful tool than violence.   That’s exactly what she and Sharp do around the world.

 

 

b)  ICELANDERS POINTED THE WAY FOR US when they rose up peacefully and took their government back. Check out this link!:

https://clearblueskyoutwest.com/?s=iceland

iceland

 

c)  HERE’S WHY WE HAVE MORE POWER THAN WE THINK!! Citibank admits it in this leaked memo to its wealthiest clients. This is amazing.  

Here is the full 35 page memo, but it’s much easier to just watch the 2 minute clip above. It summarizes it beautifully:
http://delong.typepad.com/plutonomy-1.pdf

 

d)  Here’s 50 second clip of Gandhi (portrayed in film) explaining how absurd it is that 100,000 British tried to rule over 300 million Indians. Hmmmm. Sound familiar? The numbers here in America are pretty similar (the top 1/10 of 1% is 300,000 people and our total population is 300 million). And what was his solution? Noncooperation. That same solution will work very well for us.

 

 

e)  Check out this excerpt from Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter from the Birmingham Jail”. It’s about the GOOD form of TENSION:

“Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks to so dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent-resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word “tension.” I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half-truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, we must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood.”

“The purpose of our direct-action program is to create a situation so crisis-packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation. I therefore concur with you in your call for negotiation.”

Here’s the entire “Letter from the Birmingham Jail”. It’s a treasure and is as timely as ever.:

http://abacus.bates.edu/admin/offices/dos/mlk/letter.html .

MLKinJail

 

f)  These are a MUST SEE!!!    Defines the problem in a short video clip.  And in a second clip, offers a thought provoking solution!!   Over 600,000 people in America are currently pursuing this route.   There’s also a third 3 minute clip narrated by Robert Reich that really clarifies the issues and how to truly change the situation in a meaningful way.  DON’T MISS this trio of short powerful clips! They’re very sharp and get right to the point with clear synopsis and real solutions.   Highly shareable. 

https://clearblueskyoutwest.com/2017/09/09/www-represent-us/

 

g)  In order to focus our energy where it can do the most good, we need to realize that much of the suffering and destruction we are now experiencing is the result of  ONE  BAD  POLICY  that has been championed by both Republican & Democratic leaders for the last 20 years.   This policy can be ended if we follow the 2 steps described above. . . AND ending that one bad policy would make the world a LOT better place.  This is, therefore, a great place to focus our energies).   Information on that one bad policy is here at this link:

https://clearblueskyoutwest.com/2017/08/16/the-bare-bones-basics-on-neoliberalism-what-the-ideology-is-specific-examples-of-policy-resulting-harms-to-people-the-planet-and-real-solutions-to-beat-this-damn-thing-we-can-win-thi/

 

That one bad policy is causing a lot of harm.   IF WE DEFEAT THAT ONE BAD POLICY (using the methods described in this post), WE CAN GREATLY REDUCE THE SUFFERING AND DESTRUCTION IN THIS WORLD:

  • 50% of children in the U.S. live below or near the poverty line.   (Columbia University School of Public Health study here )

 

  • 20 individuals now have as much wealth as the poorest 150 million Americans (half the country per The Nation magazine here ).

 

  • A study by the Atlantic found that 47% of Americans were economically insecure and couldn’t come up with $400 in an emergency (Article in the Atlantic:  “The Secret Shame of Middle Class America.” here )

 

  • According to a study published recently by CBS News, 78% of workers in America are now living paycheck to paycheck. And each year that percentage is increasing.  Article here .

 

  • Per that same CBS article, 70% of Americans have $1,000 or less in savings, and 33% have no savings at all.

 

  • Over a million good jobs have been shipped overseas so highly profitable corporations could get even richer.  Click here for more info.

 

  • The environment is clearly being damaged at a rapid pace as the interests of corporations (quarterly profits) are continually put about the interests of people and the planet. .  (See images towards the bottom for more info). In addition to climate change and pollution of our air, water and land, there is also alarming news like this: THE GUARDIAN: “Natural World Faces Collapse as Wildlife Population Plummets”

 

  • Additionally, since neoliberalism creates such enormous economic distress, it creates a climate that is historically  conducive to the rise of fascism and racism (think about 1930’s Germany and how a strong man swooped in to take advantage of the economic conditions to exploit race, religion, sexual orientation and ethnicity to create divisions).  This lays out pretty clearly how fascism rises. It’s a 2 minute clip from a 1947 US War Dept. ant-fascist film. 

 

 

MORE ON THE MINDSET SHIFT THAN BRING TREMENDOUS POSITIVE REAL WORLD CHANGE.    Check this out!!:   

“A WHOLE NEW VIEW”

https://clearblueskyoutwest.com/2017/08/10/a-whole-new-view/

HERE’S AN ASTOUNDING SHORT CLIP FROM THE FILM MINDWALK (set at Mont Saint Michel in France). This beautifully lays out one of our main challenges and offers a powerful solution. This is truly fascinating. The female lead character (a scientist played by Liv Ullman), describes patriarchy and the current imbalance that is the root cause of so many of our surface problems. FAST FORWARD TO 3 minutes in and watch from there. The key moment comes at 6 minutes in.

 

Click on this link to return to HOME PAGE and see other posts on this blog.

https://clearblueskyoutwest.com

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