Sep 26 2010
This short diary is a simple “report” on the results of the product of this discussion held earlier:
Given where we are today, how to sell people on civics? Is it possible to sell enough of them at this time to make the difference?
I don’t know, but today I’m asking that question and am very curious to hear the responses.
Sep 25 2010
The implications of Citizens United continue to unfold before us. Last night, I was having a politics discussion with some friends and hit upon a realization:
We are only able to check the dollars with a regular, consistent and sustained civic activity.
Think on that, the current state of things, voter apathy, and join me below the fold!
Aug 18 2010
Our founders were brilliant people. Really. They were. One of the very best things about the first amendment is the idea that we get to hold each other accountable for those things we say and do. This isn’t civil or criminal accounting, but social accounting.
Before we showed the world what the value of expression is for society, people were limited in what they could say, “because it might disturb the powers that be”, or maybe they valued their head being attached to the rest of their body.
Free speech and tolerance are linked together in a most powerful way. If we tolerate bigots, for example, we will live in a world filled with bigots.
Why is this?
Not everybody does the work to properly socialize, and they won’t do that, unless they feel some need, or pressure to do it, which is the core of what the First Amendment is all about.
Aug 15 2010
I was really inspired to do some thinking after reading Cassiodorus work here https://www.docudharma.com/diar…
We have a priority problem and a communication / definition problem in the US, and many other parts of the world.
The standard line is the global economy is rewarding us with greater efficiencies, translating in to higher standards of living, and overall growth every year.
The reality is very different, and I want to explain a bit of how that can be.
First, a few realities:
There are two basic labors we do in the world. They revolve around needs vs wants. The needs are food, shelter, basic tools, utilities and other things needed for humans to simply live in the world. Without these things, we are mere hunter gatherers, spending nearly all our time just to live and reproduce.
Wants are those things we can realize with some measure of our free time. These are luxuries, not required things. They might be entertainment, fashion, drama, etc…
One core reality, ignored in many of the economic discussion, is the needs are mandatory. Without these things, we regress as a society and as a people, and simply die. Wants come after needs, given we are wealthy enough to afford to entertain them.
That brings me to wealth. What is wealth? Wealth can be expressed in terms of time. When we have time available to us, after our needs are met, we are wealthy. The more of this time we have, the more wealthy we are. It’s all that simple. Most often, wealth is expressed in terms of dollars, and that’s misleading, because doing this ignores time, focusing on numerical value only.
Why is this a problem?
Aug 14 2010
Well, I’ve been wanting to participate here for a while. Had a friend nudge me just enough to start it off proper.
Sometimes I do this. Just write up some initial chatter to break the ice. Some places don’t seem to evoke that. This one does. I generally enjoy the commentary here, and I think I know a fair number of you too, which is always a plus.
Right now, it’s a slow Saturday morning. Ever think about the very high value of Saturday? To me, it’s a very special day, because one can basically do whatever they want on that day, assuming a ordinary work week that is. Want to get completely hammered? This is the day, because you’ve got one to recover and somehow manage to show up at work, ideally capable, but maybe just there.
So that’s one good thing about this day.
Another is it being the first real day off. I don’t know about you guys, but work comes at a huge premium right now. I note that corporate profit, in general, is very high. Well, no fucking wonder! We’ve got people running ragged, generally worried over the clear and present threat of so many not actually working. I’m sure the powers that be love that.
Often when I’m writing, my cat Zozo tends to camp out on my lap, occasionally making noises, or rubbing, shifting, putting that paw out, looking for a pet and some nice words. Wonder what she thinks of me looking at a screen, moving all those fingers around? She’s probably thinking there are much better things to do, like play with the laser dot (and, if you’ve not done that with your pet, do! It’s a blast, just use moderation.), or maybe go explore the yard together, maybe playing in the tree.
Since I’m rambling, I love animals. The more aware animals are just like little people! They have the same issues, the same needs, and often are a whole lot smarter than we give them credit for. One big thing is getting over the differences. I find learning about the animals, learning enough to have a conversation, or read an emotion is often no different than doing the same for people. With animals, they have no layers of abstraction that get in the way of others knowing who they are. They just are –unabashedly, I might add, feeling no shame, and very little inhibition, once the trust is there.
There is something in that for all of us –and it’s something good. There should be a whole lot less shame and inhibition in the world, and the animals show us how that can be, and why it matters.
Growing up, I generally hated politics. Really, to me, it all seemed complex and very unproductive. Since then, having matured, working in various places, the importance of politics has continued to dawn on me. A whole lot of our current trouble boils down to a very large percentage of us simply not doing our civics.
Sometimes I wonder about that, then I consider that Saturday again. It’s awfully hard to invest in civics when there are so damn many escalating demands. This is by contrived design, BTW. Make no mistake about it.
Somehow, we have to get more people to do that more of the time, or… get them to allow others to do it by proxy. The religious right and corporate right are both very good at this, and that’s largely, IMHO, due to their lack of consideration for others. Exploitation comes naturally, and with that comes the tools for exploitation, and that’s the story we know today.
Is it possible to get real trust in this way and not be corrupt? I don’t know, but I’m curious about it. The idea that there are enough people to decide an election for the better, sitting on the sidelines is a compelling one, in that it is the only real check we have right now on corporate abuses, and corruption, but how to engage them?
One way is stories. When we know people, it’s harder to do the wrong things, and it’s harder to ignore things, and the value of interaction goes up big. Maybe it’s all as simple as investing the time to tell stores, engage people, and get them to vote at a minimum, seeing that minor effort pay off with better policy.
There you go! My first ramble essay here, ideally more to come. You will see me in the comments on and off, for sure. Probably not on this one though. My Saturday just got a bit busier, as Mrs Potatohead just entered the room wanting to do stuff! No matter how ugly the world gets, I know I’ve got at least one person, who will enter the room, and want to do stuff, because I matter. That’s worth a lot more than the dollars and the power, any day of the week.