Monday, August 20, 2018

Bottom-up power

I neglected this blog to work on my memoir, but I continued getting opinion pieces published elsewhere—recently in the Minneapolis StarTribune about righting patriarchal wrongs. To provoke awareness of what’s been done to women, I write, “Consider an ad displaying a man’s genital area clad in a clinging fabric.” I urge women to educate men in healthy relating.
Yesterday, the St. Cloud Times titled my piece: Citzens gain power when they work together. 
The real voter fraud is blocking people from voting by expensive ID requirements and other restrictions, obviously, to suppress bottom-up power. . . .
The Consumer Financial Protection Agency, formed during President Obama’s term to protect consumers . . . was taking three to five enforcement actions against powerful wrongdoers each month. After Donald Trump took charge, its enforcement actions dropped to zero. . . .
But this bleak picture tells only half the story. As top-down power surges, bottom-up power is roused to action. . . .
In the new wave of sensitivity, . . . Minneapolis police now are listening to the homeless and finding out what they need. . . .
“Focusing on what’s wrong leads to despair. . . . We can infuse hope, living by Paul Wellstone’s words: We all do better when we all do better.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Obscenely Rich

My recent letter in the St.Cloud Times got such favorable response that I decided to post it here. But it can leave a person despairing for our country, so I'd like readers to scroll down to the post below to see reasons for hope.  Excerpts of my Times letter:
One sentence in “The Politics of Politics” stands out for me: “We cannot be jealous but are to be grateful to those who do well and not punish them with punitive taxes.”
 It displays a naïve concept of economic reality in the U.S.
 Multi-millionaires and billionaires hold their wealth in assets that are not taxable. . . .
The belief that cutting taxes boosts the whole economy contradicts reality. . . . Strenuous efforts fail to find any benefit for most people.
The top 1 percent own more than the bottom 90 percent combined. . . . Big Money buys influence in D.C. . . .
Raising taxes for those who are doing obscenely well would not be punitive. It would be wise. 
My letter in the Times spells out how our national government tilts toward the rich and powerful, but it inspires little hope. Again I remind readers to scroll down for reminders that all is not bleak. 

Injustice has always existed in our national government. From the very beginning it privileged the privileged and burdened the needy by, for instance, excluding women, Blacks, and persons without property from playing a role as citizens. Our current president and administration only do it more blatantly and extremely.

But that rouses ordinary citizens to action. Just this morning I heard about citizens countering NIMBY (not in my back yard) resistance to building apartments in neighborhoods with single-family homes.

A woman who saw how NIMBY was fueling the housing crisis in San Francisco decided she did not have to settle for being angry. She could do something to relieve homelessness. And thus began the YIMBY (yes, in my back yard) movement. It assures fearful homeowners that building affordable housing in stable neighborhoods does not threaten their economic security. YIMBY has spread around the country—including Minneapolis—and even to Australia.

Similar stories of volunteers springing to action show grass-roots in motion as never before. And that gives me hope.