See. This is what happens when I let my heart write what it wants. I have been trying to open up like I mentioned last week and allow my emotions to run free a little bit but what comes to the surface right away is that I am pissed about the way we are communicating with each other in this country.
Yes, happy little Holly is truly fired up and pissed!!! I have always been so proud of how we, as a nation, could have such diverse opinions yet still possess the ability to work together and have intelligent, constructive conversations that lead towards maybe not a perfect solution but at least one we could all live with. But over the last couple years I feel like I can’t even turn on the news (or FB for that matter) without putting on a Hazmat suit to protect myself from the Sunami of toxic sludge that is sure to come my way. We have turned into one big episode of the Jerry Springer show and I cannot stand the Jerry Springer show. I am embarrassed that it even exists!
It appears to me that everybody’s talking but nobody’s listening. It feels like I am being avalanched by a whole lot of highly skewed, selectively informed opinions from all sides of the equation and that each side is just helping each other to get better and better at proving their particular point. And that’s the real kicker to make it all more confusing: a lot of the times they are exactly brilliantly right! All of them!
How is that possible? Because each is only interested in their own little wedge of the society pie and it’s easy to be brilliantly right about what you are talking about when you don’t have to consider or validate any of the needs of anyone representing any of the other wedges. But like it or not there’s just one little problem few seem to even be talking about and that is that a society equally needs all those diverse wedges functioning effectively together in order to thrive. You can’t just starve one wedge of what it values most (whether that be money or safety) for the sake of another and expect everything to workout okay. It won’t. Maybe in the short term but never in the long run.
I feel like George Carlin right now where I want to say “I get pissed. God damnit. I get pissed!” The latest battle seems to have gone far beyond the usual Democrat and Republican rhetoric and gone straight into a battle over the Ism’s (Socialism and Capitalism). The names are flying. If you’re not a Socialist you’re a greedy Capitalist! If you’re not a Capitalist, you’re a freeloading Socialist! To me, all this bantering and barb trading only covers up the real conversation I believe we should be having about the very real flaws inherent in both Isms that I believe brought us to this situation in the first place.
I think parts of Socialism do make some sense and answer some sectors of society’s needs but to me the huge, and I mean huge, problem with it is that it offers absolutely no inspiration to the pioneers, entrepreneurs and innovators of the world. Like it or not socialism lovers, these entrepreneur types run on a different fuel than you. It’s not a want, it’s a need. They are not just being difficult here. For those personality types they literally can’t muster the inspiration to create unless they feel that all possibility is open to them. (And I’m not talking about greed here. Despite the current greedy examples littering the news, our country is loaded with amazing entrepreneurs who make our world better, even possible) People truly do have different motivating forces. That can’t just be disregarded. So how do you make a society work under a system our job creators aren’t inspired by? You can’t. We need a new Ism.
But wait a minute Capitalism lovers, I have something to say to you too. I think Capitalism works beautifully for all the legitimate entrepreneurs of the world and it’s been a great ride for the most part except as it turns out the system works really beautifully for white collar criminals too. What are you going to do about them? You can’t pretend they aren’t there and that they aren’t hurting our country. They are hurting it big time and have way more power than apparently even the government can do anything about. You may be one of those legitimate entrepreneurs that makes our system work, the engine that keeps us running, doing what is fair despite the opportunity to exploit the loopholes, and for that I humbly thank you, but those criminals sharing the suite next to you look just like you, in fact they even believe they are just like you, they think they are perfectly legit, they’ve bought their own baloney and they are getting all the air time on the news so, without all the facts, it’s hard for us little people to tell who’s who, so next thing you know you’re all just lumped in one stereotypical bin and tada!!!! We’ve got Occupy Wall Street.
It’s quite the conundrum. You can’t just legislate the problem away. Then you’re right on back to the thing you hate: Socialism. But you can’t blame the socialists, or the Unions or the Occupy Wall Street folks for the situation either (well you can and do all the time but I don’t see how you can believe that it’s really their fault). No, the blame for this particular pickle should go to those criminals who have swiftly tainted the capitalist label with their bad example. They are the ones who made this current conversation even possible. Thanks to them, trust has been severely lost and I don’t see how it’s coming back anytime soon especially since you’re acting like the husband who blames his wife for his own cheating.
To me, the obvious big flaw in Capitalism, and Democracy for that matter, that I think is way too seldom talked about, is that in order for it to be sustainable it requires something from the people who participate in it. It requires personal responsibility and some internal code of ethics or, at the very least, big picture thinking that helps you see that sometimes short term gain is no gain at all if it erodes the foundation your opportunities are built on.
And in the example of Capitalism what is that foundation? It’s all the people willing to do the hands on work to make all those big ideas a reality. You may be the brains of this operation but they are the arms and legs and without them you’re not going anywhere or profiting from anything. You need them and they need you.
Despite the characterization that’s been thrown around lately of the socialist loving freeloading lazy people who want to sit around making babies and eating ho ho’s all day at the expense of the top 1%, the bulk of Americans are hardworking people who just want a job and will give the better part of their lives to your vision but they need something in return. And although it’s hard for many entrepreneur types to understand, the motivating force for many of them is not the ability to earn unlimited amounts of money. They don’t require the same things you require.
For many of the laborers, office workers, teachers, healthcare providers etc of our society their currency is quite simply things like job security, love of the work, or the chance to make a difference. Many of them would just assume not to have to even think too much about money. Not because they aren’t intelligent but literally because they don’t have time for all that, and don’t have dreams of private jets. They divide their time between you (their employer) and their family (and you’re getting the lion’s share of that).
All they want is to put in an honest day of work knowing that in exchange you will value what they do and offer them security in the form of enough money to be able to put a decent roof over their kids heads, pay their insurance, be healthy, take a vacation once in a while and put a nest egg away so they can eventually retire.
If you are not providing jobs that offer that fair exchange like most good capitalists, your fair wage in exchange for their time and hard work, but are instead offering them jobs that are using up all their time and paying them as little as you can possibly get away with, or even worse, actively stealing from their retirements, then you do us as a society no favors. You are not the machine that keeps us running like you like to consider yourselves, you are the criminal distorting the meaning of Capitalism, profiting at your own society’s expense, contributing to the erosion of our foundation by adding more and more people to it who are tired, uninsured, financially drained and cynical. Just because you can get away with something doesn’t always mean you should. Don’t kid yourself that you aren’t part of the reason that there is a large part of society that needs a handout. The lazy ones are to blame too for sure but you are their faithful partner in crime.
So what do we do about it all? I have no idea. That’s why I am so pissed! The more and more I watch the madness unfold the more I think that there is no solution inside of all the Isms and the grandstanding. I think maybe that the big grand solution that fixes everything and puts us back on track doesn’t exist. I think maybe the only answer is to have 312,442,012 solutions. Meaning that I think it’s going to be up to all of us individually to have a change of heart, to stop fighting for our own self-interests, or even better to start seeing the needs of our society as a whole (something we are all interdependent on) as our self-interests and then go ahead and be the solutions we want to see in this country. But of course, that’s the biggest pipe dream I have ever come up with. How on earth does anyone get everyone in the country on board with anything? Can’t count on the media for help on that one. They hate peace. It’s a sure fire ratings killer.
Oh I know I am being dramatic. “But I’m pissed. God Damnit! I’m pissed!” Put me back in the box before I get in trouble. 🙂