bentangle

Tag: economy

We the People…

by on Oct.18, 2013, under politics

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

To most it should be self-evident, but this is the opening paragraph of this nation’s Constitution – a document forged over 200 years ago by an array of men from various walks of life and differing and often contentious opinions. It was written by these men over a a period of years of deliberation and revision and I have no doubt with a great degree of argument. Back then there were semblances of party lines, but not in the form we are familiar with. The most common delineation was between Federalists (those who were in favor of a strong central government) and the Democratic-Republicans (those who were in favor of leaving the majority of governing in the hands of the states). It would be difficult to paint either of these parties as either strictly conservative or strictly liberal. What could be said about them though, is this – these individuals who came together to form this nation and then later make effort to govern it clearly had a common and clear agenda: to successfully establish and maintain a nation of, for, and by the people that could serve those people fairly and justly and that they could be proud of.

I don’t believe they would be proud today.

While certainly the recent government shutdown was a strong inspiration to my writing today, it was certainly neither the first nor the last catalyst to my discontent. I’ve long held the somewhat cynical belief that to a degree our representative government, however flawed, is in fact representative of us as a nation – that their faults are our own faults and that the only real catalyst for change would be when enough people simply said “enough” with their words, with their votes, maybe even with their wallets. But certain events have led me to believe that perhaps ‘we the people’ may not even have that sway anymore, at least not fairly or as readily as we should.

So I need to do more than just speak with my vote. Small ripples aren’t enough anymore. I’m saying “Enough!” as firmly and loudly as I can, and I hope that doing so inspires others to do so as well.

Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
George Santayana

While our nation’s history may only be measured in centuries, humanity’s is in millennia. And over that time there have been numerous nations, kingdoms, and empires that have risen and fallen. And while few may have launched under the idyllic pretense that ours was, there were certainly common goals. Given the history of nation’s whose wealth disparity has been great, I am left with great fear for our own nation’s fate. While I’m not about to advocate Communism, there is something to be said for wage equity. And if the following video is as true as it claims to be, then gender-based pay equality seems like the least of our concerns:

What this video doesn’t speak to is how we as a nation arrived at this point. I am certainly not an economist, but there have been trends and shifts in recent decades that I believe had played a part in this shift to make the “middle class” far from solidly in the middle. What I DO know about economist is this – for every winner, there is a loser. Every dollar gained in the market is a dollar spent by someone else. In recent history the stock market has felt more like a casino than an engine for business promotion and investment. And we all know with casinos the house always wins. In the case of the financial sector, they won with the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, they won with the bailouts, and they continue to win our hard-earned dollars day by day without culpability for any economic instability they may cause in the process.

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of 1%-ers who do take the high road – people such as Bill & Melinda Gates who are literally putting billions of dollars into charitable good. But there are plenty of faceless members of this upper class that would more readily use their wealth to reward their puppet Congressmen for creating such a press field-day as the recent government shutdown. They won’t be the ones to feel the ripples of such actions, and they seem perfectly content letting those of us who will be awash in them. John Stewart recently compared the actions of the House Tea Party to the movie The Jerk, but I feel there is another 80’s movie analogy that feels more apropos – Trading Places: where the likes of the Koch brothers are the Duke brothers, and the Tea Party is Billy Ray Valentine.

The point is this: between campaign finance insanity, repeal of key voting equality legislation, and bizarre redistricting, our nation is barely within our hands – a fact that is brutally apparent when we have a government with a 10% approval rating and a 90% incumbency rate. It is clear that our approval is moot, and if our voice is moot, then our government is no longer representative. While it is still technically of the people, it is no longer by the people or for the people. And it’s time we take it back before we no longer have the power to do so.

We the people have had enough, and we want our nation back!

There are many steps in this road. One is to speak up to the government we have. I’ve already started by submitting one petition to our President (see here) and signed on to a number of others. Feel free to sign or right some as you see fit. If you do, let me know and perhaps I’ll add my name to other worthy causes.

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Here’s Where the Story Ends

by on Nov.20, 2008, under About Me, career, money

Today I lost a friend.  He is still alive, and we are still friends (I assume), but our relationship will not likely ever be the same as it was … well … as early as this morning.  This morning I arrived at the office, setup my laptop at my desk and, as I often do, walked to the office next door where my friend sits to chat while my laptop came to life.  I found him enjoying some music that reminded him fondly of a cruise he had been on last year (relevant as he will be going on another cruise in a matter of days).  We chatted about the music, discussed some work-related matters, and I departed back to my own office to go about my business.  The sad irony is that the song he was enjoying was one by the Sundays whose name is the title of this post.  Less than 30 minutes later, he had been laid off and escorted out of the office. (continue reading…)

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Change for the Worse

by on Sep.06, 2008, under money

For years I have been a fan of steering away from cash in favor of being able to charge anything and everything to debit cards.  And recently I’ve finally been getting my wish.  I can go through nearly any drive-through (sorry, drive-thru) or get gas at nearly any station without having to worry if I had enough cash on hand.  I just swipe my handy-dandy check card and be on my merry way!  Unfortunately I did not realize the price for such convenience. (continue reading…)

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It’s Not Easy Being Green

by on Aug.27, 2008, under environment, family, politics

As I sit here watching Bill Clinton and John Kerry talking about the problems of today and the direction we need to go moving forward, certain elements strike a chord.  Most of them relate to green – namely the environment and the economy – and they both relate to struggles I see in my own life.  As they speak about our role as a nation in steering the world towards a more Earth-friendly lifestyle, I think about my own efforts to be conscious of my ecological footprint.  Ans as they speak about the downturn in jobs and wages in our nation during Bush’s reign, I can’t help but think of my own past and present struggles. (continue reading…)

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