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The People of America Need To Rescue Themselves

September 14, 2011 by Giulietta Nardone

Hello all,

Billy Jack post needs to wait another week. After I perused my latest copy of Newsweek and the local paper, I felt compelled to write about the state of the United States.

46.2 million Americans now live in poverty. (15.1%, same as 1993, which I find fascinating. Was that a bad time then? Don’t think so.)

59 million do not have health insurance.

7.2 million are in prison, on parole or probation. (The highest in the world.) We spend $200 billion a year on incarceration, many for drug convictions. Isn’t alcohol a drug?

$14,694,624, 120, 933.06 trillion in debt.

671,859 people homeless each night. (More and more former members of the middle class.)

$4,000,000,000,000 trillion and counting for the 2-3 wars going on.

How did this happen? Yes, we can blame the politicians. Frankly, though, I believe this happened because we’ve all been sleepwalking through our lives, not paying attention to the choices our leaders made, not being involved in our local governments, not participating and not dissenting. Not sure we even have a functioning democracy at this point.  Without the people providing checks and balances it cannot be a democracy.

Democracies are fragile. Yet, how often do any of us talk about what it takes? How often do you question or speak up about what even goes on in your own town? I can tell you that there’s very little participation on the local level, that very few get up and question the budgets or the items being passed.

Folks have told me, “We can’t do anything about it, so I’m just going to manage my little corner of the world.” But what does that mean?

It’s very easy for democracies to migrate into something else when folks are looking at something else. It seems that we care more about who wins Dancing With The Stars than what goes on in our government/country.

I’ve formed a group in my town called The Off Center For Wild & Disobedient Creativity. I’m convinced that the economy cannot take off again if all it involves is buying more stuff that does not feed our souls. Every day I read, “We need folks to buy more stuff.” Yet, we all have more stuff that we will ever need. Even if we had money, would most of us keep buying more? At some point, there’s no room in your home for it or you. I’ve been hauling stuff out for over 9 years and still I could fill a small department store.

If Americans can wake up from sleepwalking and a chronic state of dependency then I believe we can turn this around. So many problems exist that need solving. Yet we focus on consumer spending in the traditional sense.

O.k., I’d love your ideas for creating jobs whatever country you live in because it all trickles around. It’s time for the regular folks, not being hounded by lobbyists or re-election jitters to come up with businesses that we need. Businesses that may not exist at this moment. Please no political flamethrowers. That just creates more upheaval.

I’d like to see companies spring up that

a) get folks back connected to their own power, their own critical thinking abilities.

b) stop sex trafficking. ( we can buy shares)

c) encourage folks to help others, especially teens

d) healthy eating clinics associated with farms

e) alternatives to prescription meds

f) democracy takes attention programs

g) kindness classes

h) allow us to give our stuff directly to other families – stuff donors

g) get children back into the woods to learn about science and math in action

h) musician performance company that gives afternoon performances at corporations, often members of that company.

i) wisdom talks by senior citizens

j) undersea holiday spots

k) cave homes that don’t need heat or air conditoning

How about some of you? What ideas do you have for job creation and please don’t be limited by what you think it possible. That’s where we all falter. If we can put a man on the moon way back in 1969, we can come up with some creative jobs. Who would have thought we could do that?

Many thanks, G.

p.s. my own attempts to get folks back connected to their own power. my writing adventure open to women at story circle. Shh! Secrets to Writing Powerful, Provocative, and Publishable Personal Essays


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8 responses to “The People of America Need To Rescue Themselves”

  1. Michael says:

    From dictionary.com:

    en·ter·tain   [en-ter-teyn] Show IPA
    verb (used with object)
    1. to hold the attention of pleasantly or agreeably; divert; amuse.

    a·muse   [uh-myooz] Show IPA
    verb (used with object), a·mused, a·mus·ing.
    1. to hold the attention of (someone) pleasantly;

    5. Obsolete .
    a. to engross; absorb.
    b. to puzzle; distract.

    amuse – Word History
    late 15c., from M.Fr. amuser “divert, cause to muse,” from a “at, to” (but here probably a causal prefix) + muser “ponder, stare fixedly.” Sense of “divert from serious business, tickle the fancy of” is recorded from 1630s, but through 18c. the primary meaning was “deceive, cheat” by first occupying attention.

    So much of our society and culture is based on seeking diversions, amusements, and being entertained. Just like how the Colosseum was used during the decline of Rome.

    “Wake up” is a good phrase. We’re encouraged to care about stuff and events designed to distract us from the things that actually deserve our attention. It’s a form of mass-hypnosis.

    Did you know that in French-speaking countries they would never dream of using the term ‘mortgage’? Considering it translates as ‘death contract’, I’m not surprised.

    The things we are told are important in the media are usually not, especially not in the way we’re told they are. The truth is always just off stage left somewhere. When corporations or governments tell me something is important now, the first thing I do is look to see what they’re trying to distract me from.
    Michael recently posted..i don’t know stephen elliott

  2. Hi Michael,

    Superb response. I’m so glad you brought up the mortgage and what it translates to in French. In many European countries, they build as they can pay. It may take years to finish a house, but then they own it.

    30 years to pay for a home. That’s insane when you think about it. It’s more than a third of your life. How did we convince ourselves that we needed something that expensive/big? And folks end up paying almost double. Then when you get a raise, you get an even bigger house and you can never quit your job.

    So true about governments trying to distract us. It happens at all levels – get the people off in a snit, then when we’re snitting, they do what they want. That’s how the deficit got so high.

    School test scores are distractions for folks. Why would getting A’s matter in life? I’ve been racking my brain trying to figure out why we think that’s good.

    Thanks for this! G.
    Giulietta Nardone recently posted..The People of America Need To Rescue Themselves

  3. BetheChange says:

    I will teach the kindness classes. I want the chance to do that.

  4. WOW! Those are some intense statistics, Julie! That last stat on how much the US has spent on wars is frightening. You know, one aspect of living in Canada that I wanted to get away from was the incessant comparisons with people in our social class that would beget consumer spending (i.e., “I need to buy what s/he has”). I love your idea of focusing more on feeding our souls and your creative jobs list!

    How about companies that schedule in periods of doing nothing to help us overcome the need to be productive and the addiction to busy-ness. Or companies that promote free creativity — time to paint, sing, dance, etc. =)
    Samantha Bangayan recently posted..A Versatile Blogger in Peru

    • Hey Samantha,

      I love the do nothing periods. Fantastic idea to help us de-busify ourselves. That could be a biz that goes into companies and does that.

      No one actually works 8.5 hours a day – much of it’s spent complaining about the prison-like environment. So, they couldn’t argue that folks are too busy at work.

      I love the idea of a craft/music/dance room. Can you imagine the energy at such a company?

      Thanks! G.

  5. J.D. Meier says:

    > buying more stuff that does not feed our souls
    A little soul food goes a long way.

    I think one of the greatest challenges more folks will have to face is finding their intrinsic happiness and what makes their soul sing.
    J.D. Meier recently posted..Six Guiding Strategies to Build Up Your Self-Confidence

    • Absolutely J.D. It saddens me that at no time during a child’s schooling do we even mention to them they have a soul or talk about the importance of feeding it or making it sing.

      The program creates empty folks who then have to fight to regain their fullness — and not a lot do because the odds of seeing the lights when you’re buried in the dark of debt and obligation.

      You’ve got me thinking here … Many thanks. G.

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