September has nearly slipped by and I realize I have yet to post a blog this month. Since I’m working on an article for a deadline and completely distracted by facebook, twitter, and the Occupy Wall Street news feeds it seems the perfect time to slip one in before the month is gone.
I actually spent a lot of time talking to many new people this month and scrambled to spend conscious time with a few good friends when possible. I am thankful that I live in a household where three adults are able to share space respectfully and none of us seem to be going hungry in this economy. I am thankful to have a neighborhood that includes teachers, nurses, construction workers, mechanics, artists, musicians, and even a politician. There are no corporate moguls, bankers, or stock brokers that I’m aware of in the neighborhood. If there are, they don’t talk to the rest of us. A year ago, when I moved into this house we had a small porch fire that our neighbors kept from being destructive by responding faster than any fire department could with extinguishers. My roommate fixed our neighbor’s lawn mower when it broke. The neighborhood dog & kitten come hang on the porch when I’m playing music with my friends. We eat fresh organic produce grown in our own yards. The city councilman up the road has been organizing clean up crews through facebook showing the DOT that if they don’t do their job and keep our sidewalks and roads clean we’ll do the job for them. He is hands on and active in connecting with the community he represents.
However, once we send representatives to Raleigh and DC they start to become disconnected from the community they supposedly represent. It costs a lot of money to run for office these days and now the corporations with interests in patenting all the food Americans eat and selling them a lifetime of drugs to keep everyone “normal” have been granted unlimited spending to buy us some candidates and tell us to whom we should give our vote. The people paying for the ad campaigns care more about the dollars they can make selling people insurance that is mandatory by law (because they made sure everyone has to buy what they’re selling). But, for all we pay them, they never cover the cost when a real crisis occurs because they don’t care about people, they care about profit. I believe that if most people put the money they spend on insurance into a savings account they would have the money when it was needed and a strong community can help each other survive crisis.
Now these corporations are considered “people” by our government. They also control the media. They decide what “news” Americans will watch and for 13 days now have not even bothered to mention that there is a peaceful protest happening on Wall Street and spreading to other cities. Why? Because the people are protesting the corporations. Your television shows are brought to you by Monsanto, Pfizer, Geico, American Express and Capital One. Drug and insurance ads flash at you every five minutes between sound bites of “reality” shows where adults act like adolescents in front of the camera to win a cash prize. Our government bailed out Wall Street and the auto companies so they could spend more money selling you stuff that you don’t need. The average American does not need to buy a new car every year, but they will do their best to convince you that what you have is not good enough. Turn your TV off now and start paying attention to the world where you actually live and work. Stop buying the lies that Time Warner and Disney wish to sell you for profit and spend your hard earned money in your own community.
I recently saw an exhibit by Connie Frisbee Houde at the Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County during a Poetry Alive! visit they funded for the local schools. One of the most striking images was flipping through her book The Forgotten: Images of Afghanistan & New Orleans and seeing on the left a image of emptied stone cave homes with nothing but a few pieces of beautiful wood furniture and on the right washed out piles of debris at a storage unit after Katrina. Americans have become so weighted down with collecting stuff that we sometimes fail to see what is truly of value.
Please get to know your neighbors before the winter sets in and prepare together. My grandparents didn’t survive the dust bowl era in the mid-west because of any corporation or government help (They were true conservatives unlike today’s Republicans). They worked with their neighbors to survive and helped each other weather the weather. The only way to stop the oppressors is to teach them how not to oppress. If American citizens get off their couches and start making their communities beautiful and joyful places to live, the media can’t sell us an imaginary dream of something better. Vote with every dollar you spend for a better tomorrow instead of funding the status quo. We must be the change we seek.