I know "the man" is an outdated term on several levels. But, it gives me such an amusing image of somebody sitting in midst of incense and... all the other stereotypical activities of the 70s. Which brings me to another topic: this particular post keeps tempting me to talk about things that I don't want my daughters to read. I keep imagining them reading over my shoulder and asking awkward questions, (What's pot, Mommy? What does that word mean and why shouldn't we say it?) So, I am doing a little self editing here. Some of you no doubt will immediately realize, for example, that when I say "baloney" below I am really thinking something else. But, you never know who is going to read this, so baloney it is.
Back to "the man". When I use this phrase I am talking of those who have the power in our society, which also equals those who have the money. There is clearly economic injustice in our world and I think many of us are getting a bit fed up with it. So, here are a few of my thoughts on what we can do about it.
1. Give to Charity: Probably not where you were expecting me to go, but this is important. There is a message out there that says,"In order to stimulate the economy, consumers need to go out and spend, spend, spend!" Instead, buy what you need, save for emergencies, and then give to charity. Giving is guaranteed to stimulate the economy. Since the recipients can't afford to tuck the currency away, they are certain to spend the money on goods and services. Giving to charity increases consumer confidence when fewer folks are living in destitution. And it is a most excellent way to shrink the government: less need for social services if charities have all the resources they need. Giving to charity increases compassion and decreases consumerism. It is an all around win.
2. Write Off Your Politicians: We are continuously encouraged to write our politicians. I am not saying this is a bad idea although I do question the efficacy. The responses I have received to my letters make it clear they were never read. But go ahead and write your politicians. However, we need to remember that our politicians have little control over a system that supports their very existence. If they fight the system, they will be removed or rendered ineffective. Furthermore, when we focus on politicians and politics we get side tracked by bipartisan bickering. Whether the republicans are right or the democrats is not the point. We need to focus our attention on the roots of the problem.
3. Explore Alternative News Sources: Whether you are a fan of Fox News or MSNBC, the very fact that you can be a fan of one over and against the other makes it clear that unbiased news does not reign in our world. For the news to be reported in such different ways makes it clear that someone is being influenced. To assume that your preferred news is the only unbiased news around is extremely naive. Peruse the news from entirely different sources, such as from other countries, to give yourself a different perspective.
4. Polish Your Baloney Detector: Divisive language, fear mongering, and name calling are pervasive in our world. Reports on politics nearly always boil down to "Democrats say..." vs. "Republicans say..." It seems like many of the folks on the news have forgotten lessons they should have learned in Kindergarten: it is not nice to call people names. Seriously, it is insulting to me that all we have to do is call some protestors "hippies" and we can dismiss an entire movement ( I am referring to the Occupy Wall Street movement. If you haven't heard about it, these are some people trying to stand up to "the man" for better or worse.) Or we can attach the name Obama to something and depending on your political leanings it is either automatically wonderful or automatically evil. I find it so condescending that it is assumed such tactics will work. I find it equally disheartening that they so often do. Let's really listen to each other and use our minds. When we hear name calling, labeling, or focusing on partisan politics our baloney detectors should go off big time.
5. Boycott Corporate Greed: I was going to propose that we boycott any company whose CEO makes more than $3,000,000 a year. I am all for rewarding intelligence, hard work, creativity and the like. Still, I refuse to believe that anyone is 100 times more intelligent, hard working and creative than the average teacher. However, after a little research I discovered that some of us would have difficulty eating if we boycotted all those companies (In smaller towns this would often involve all the grocery stores and discount stores and since Farmer's Markets in such places aren't year round...no food.) Even doubling that amount to $6,000,000 a year wouldn't help much. It is completely obnoxious how much these people get paid. We may not be able to boycott them all but we can buy locally when possible, buy fair trade when possible, avoid chain stores and chain restaurants, and be aware of the glaring economic injustice all around us. At the very least, claims that executives deserve this type of wage should set off baloney detectors.
I have my own political bias for sure but over the years we have had any combination of Republican or Democrat President and Republican or Democrat dominated Senate and House. While there have been some differences none of them have addressed the underlying problems. And, all their combined efforts have gotten us where we are today. We need to stop the focus on bipartisan politics and focus on where the money and the power are. These are my few humble suggestions. What are yours? Let's stick it to "the man", man.