Repost from the archives. It would be nice to say these ideas are no longer useful, but they are.
My sympathy’s to ( name withheld ) Opinion, The Midlothian Mirror Jan ,2003) and the dismay felt with regard to the world around us. It has taken us a while to get here and the trip back would be a long one, even if it were possible. Just because the problems are complicated, does not mean we aren’t able to apply a few simple ideas to bring back that sense that we have a say in what goes on in our world.
A major problem in this case is a loss of control by the individual to effect change for society. We appoint others to manage the bigger world for us, a perfectly valid concept, then wake up one day to realize that we have lost our say in the big picture. We can often have a profound effect on those around us and make the world better that way, but still feel powerless to sway the course of society in general. There are times when we have to gather together and make our voices heard. If you have some area of interest with ideas for change, seek like-minded groups. Regardless of the interest, there are groups out there. You may not always outnumber those that feel the opposite on particular issues, but don’t underestimate the power of large groups to be wrong. There are also many things going on today that only need the light of day to expose less than honest motives behind them.
Don’t be silent, VOTE. Use it as one of your most cherished rights and let those in control know it will be exercised regularly. Use it to decide what kind of a world you want to live in and the world you wish to pass onto those that will have it for eons to come. I can understand those that say the issues are too complex and their vote would not be an informed one. I suspect adding a few hundred million active voters would go a long way towards making sure the issues got explained in terms everyone could understand.
Spend your resources where they will count. Almost just as powerful a force for change is your money and what you choose to spend it on. Spending it as close to home as possible may translate to a more powerful voice for change and perhaps build a stronger community. This is especially important when you buy food. I’m afraid the future will show us what a grave error we make in allowing the family farm to disappear, not startling news to most of us. When you do part with your money, be informed about what kind of corporate citizen you support. In many cases they may be marketing one image and contributing to something totally different in practice. Perhaps that cheap price at the national discount store is costing you more that you think, in terms of contributing to things you don’t like about the world. Don’t buy from that company that pays it’s top management over 20 times what the average worker gets. Don’t buy from that corporation that just moved its headquarters to a PO Box in the Bahamas to avoid taxes. Your dollar is one of your most important tools of change. – and don’t forget to vote.
Do what you can to guard against negative influences in your life. Turn off the TV, and then only use it intentionally. There are tons of things to do instead of watch TV, most of them substantially more rewarding. Our media feeds on itself and is not working to our benefit. Its business is to make you consumers and attempt to entertain in the process, only so you perceive value. Choose carefully what you do watch and who is paying the bill. Especially if you have children and are concerned what they are being subjected to. The same goes for the computer, your kids can be computer literate without having to spend 5 or 10 hours a week staring at the monitor. Keep an eye on those that market to our children in the classroom. Sometimes it’s not easy to spot, but the corporations know how important your children are to future revenues. They spend enormous amounts of money to create new consumers. Ask our teachers, they are likely aware of the influences and may also feel powerless to stop it. – Vote
Don’t Waste, conserve and recycle – we are a nation of consumers, and not very astute ones, at that. The ‘happiness by consumption’ doctrine can be an incredibly negative force in our daily lives. We expend a great deal of personal energy on collecting things that offer very little to improve our lives before they get discarded. Then we pay someone to take them away and store them in the ground somewhere, usually in a part of town or the world that has little say about it. Trust me – the stuff is in someone’s backyard. Tell the fast food place you don’t want the latest bobble, made 3000 miles away, stuck in your lunch sack. Look at what you buy in terms of how it contributes to a better world and is it sustainable. I think most everyone sees our planet going downhill and think it has too much momentum and is to powerful to stop. Perhaps this destruction of our own ‘house’ saps our pride and makes us feel powerless. That’s a high price we’re paying for so-called progress – Vote
Be Informed – As long as the Internet is still relatively uncontrolled, we have a wonderful tool to get diverse opinions and network with those that feel as we do. If you’re getting all your news from network television and conglomerate news, you likely have no idea what’s really going on, and why. A good percentage of the major media sources in this country have no reason to really inform you, it leads to change. The Internet is a necessity for anyone that is tired of the direction this world is going. Initially, what you find out will not make you feel better. But it is a necessary first step to getting better control over what goes on around you, and feeling better that your doing all you can for the things that concern you.
Oh Yea – Vote.