Sunday, September 25, 2011

I Should Do Something --- but What?

I find myself, for the first time, thinking about protesting.  With each day's headlines, I wonder if I should make some sort of grand gesture, even if it's futile.The evidence that we're heading down a bad road continues to pile up and I am seeing no signs of an imminent change of course.

1.  During Republican debates, the audience cheers at the prospect of letting people die.  And executing people.

2.  The US supports the Arab Spring everywhere but in Palestine.

3.  General Electric paid no taxes in  2010.  In fact, we paid THEM to keep making profits.

4.  During the recession, the largest banks have made a massive profit; but Moody's is now downgrading them because of the possibility that if their speculative investments begin to crash, it's possible the US government won't bail them out.  And that could create the very bank crisis scenario the pundits are dreading.

5.  The London riots got front page, first block coverage for days on every news station.  Protesters occupying Wall Street are being ignored by most press outlets.  But not by the NYPD.

6.  Our president will not sacrifice his ambition to the greater good. He made it clear from day one he wanted two terms.  Now, when nothing has made much of an impact on the recession, he will continue to play it safe to ensure his campaign coffers are full for his re-election campaign.

7.   There is no press but the Internet.  Rick Perry didn't win the Florida primary.  Neither did Mitt Romney.  Or anyone else I'd ever heard of.  But I still can tell you nothing about the man who won because the nightly news (NBC, in this instance) simply mentioned what a stunning upset it was, then did another story on the two candidates they already had stories on:  Mitt and Rick.
  Nice, Lester Holt.  Are you executive producer when you're at that fancy desk?
8.  College students can't find jobs.  So they're racking up more students loans to stay in school, hoping things will improve in a year or two.
9.  8.8 million people worked part time in August because it's the only work they could find.  16.1 percent of American workers are underemployed.  31% of the workforce was underemployed at some point in 2009.
10.  Desperation for cash is a major part of the conversation as states consider hydraulic fracturing, the effects of which were illustrated so pointedly in "Gasland".
There is fast money to be made.  The long term environmental impacts may be far more expensive to deal with.  How much does it cost to import enough drinking water for an entire state?  Several states?

That's just ten items off the top of my head.  The actual list is far longer.  I haven't even mentioned our multiple wars, the fortunes being made by hired mercenaries, our unhealthy mass produced food, our continued discrimination against people who don't look like us.

It's feeling like last days of the Roman Empire to me.  And the thought that keeps crossing my mind is that I should just start walking.  Walk from New York to California and back to Washington.  Criss cross the country, bring a recorder and document what I find along the way.  I know I'm a speck in the ocean, but if I did it long enough, maybe it might get some notice.  Maybe it'll force a conversation.  Or maybe I'm mixing up political activism with Forrest Gump.


Maybe a hunger strike?  I suspect I would starve to death before any real change occurred.

And so I feel helpless.  For now.  But if there were enough people like me, who are tired of emotional toddlers running the world, maybe there is something we could accomplish together.