Couldn’t Have Said it Better Myself

10 Thoughts On America’s Unrecognized Scourge: Joblessness

from WGBH Radio, Boston, MA

” Thanks to a cocktail of factors – deregulation, globalization, deindustrialization, automation – wealth in the 21st century has become uncoupled from work.”

Auto factory worker
Still working…fornow.

Article:

1. A specter is haunting America – the specter of joblessness. Between Bill Clinton’s Washington exit 17 years ago and Donald Trump’s recent inauguration, about 10 million jobs across the nation have disappeared. Poof. Gone.

2. Friday’s report from the Department of Labor that the economy added 235,000 jobs is good news. “Robust,” is how NPR characterized it. But it’s a gloss on reality. It doesn’t reflect that somewhere between 20- and 40-million able-bodied people of working age have been displaced or dropped out of the workforce.

3. There are huge social, economic, and political implications attached to this still under appreciated phenomenon. The two most obvious: Brexit and Trump’s election. It would be gross over simplification to attribute these tectonic shifts to disappeared jobs alone. But it is reckless and irresponsible not to factor it into public thinking.

Read the rest of this article.

Then resist, with all your heart and will.

Add One More Activist

I’ve participated in American democracy primarily by voting, at least up until now. I voted when I turned 18 and still show up for every election in the many, many years since. Like many of us, the election of Donald Trump has suddenly turned me into an honest-to-God activist. I’m calling my representatives in congress, writing letters to the paper and will be meeting a member of my Congresswoman’s staff this Friday. My Congresswoman will still be in DC. Otherwise I’d be meeting with her in person. I’ve been watching videos of town meetings in other parts of the country, where hundreds or thousands of people have been turning up to protest and let their elected reps know they’re on notice.

Republicans, alas, control both houses of Congress so there have been setbacks. We have a Secretary of Education who knows nothing about public schools or college education. We have a Secretary of State (Jeff Sessions) who was condemned by Coretta Scott King back in the 1980s for his support of racism and segregation. My Senator, Elizabeth Warren, was shut down by Republicans before she could conclude her testimony against Sessions. As a result, #she persisted is now a viral meme on the internet.

The Supreme Court nomination process worries me. These are lifetime appointments and we have a split court. It’s been rightward-tilting up until the death of one of the judges and the Republicans held up Obama’s nominee for an entire year. Right now we have four liberals and four conservatives. Another conservative could set progress back for generations. Trump’s nominee will need 60 votes to pass, which means some Democrats will have to vote for him. At the very least, there’s a great deal of pressure on them to delay or defer that vote. A lot of people are saying that the seat was stolen by the Republicans’ refusal to consider Obama’s candidate for so long. Maybe we’ll just have to wait, at least until 2018 when we might be able to get the Senate back, this time with forward-thinking, progressive Democratic candidates.

It’s been an amazing time. Massive demonstrations and mass actions everywhere. It feels different, like we’re on the verge of a revolution. All the energy that went into the Occupy, Black Lives Matter and other movements feel like they’ve come together into one, huge, uproar.

And maybe the women will lead. The Womens March, Elizabeth Warren and the rest may be at the head of the line this time, leading us to change.

 

Making History

Boston Globe article
A Second American Revolution?

I made history yesterday, along with several  million people all over the world. I participated in the Boston Women’s March for America. We were 175,000 people strong. By the time we got to the Boston Common, the area was so crowded that we couldn’t hear the speakers, only clapping and roars from the crowd closer in. It took us over two hours just to get from where were stood at the center-rear of the Common to the street where the march commenced. I was surrounded by energy, love, diversity and hope.

I came with 16 other people, organized by my good friend Michele. She gathered family and friends, many of whom came in from other New England states to participate in the march. Some of those same folks left that same night. I applaud their energy and enthusiasm. We represented all ages. Michele (as well as many of us) is in her 60s. She was joined by siblings, nieces, friends of nieces and more. We had a family tree on its way to Boston Common!

It was an amazing day. Our numbers were far higher than anyone had expected. The same was true of marches in other parts of the country. We were a sea of pink pussy hats yesterday and we sent a message, whether or not our new “president” deigned to hear it. Everyone else did.

I’m still floating today. Every news source was full of stories and pictures of millions of people demonstrating and marching. There were marches in Antarctica, Europe, Asia and Africa. The DC event was the largest protest march in history. Our election put our own people as well as people in the rest of the world in danger. As an American, I have a responsibility to rectify that. Donald Trump was not elected by a majority, but by an antiquated electoral system that did not serve the interests of the American people in November.

I feel empowered, for the first time in months. And, I don’t intend to stop here. The marches were just the first volley in our second American revolution.

So It Comes to This

I’m doing my own little version of a boycott tomorrow,  by turning off my radio, newspaper and social media feeds until this travesty of an inauguration is done. Perhaps I’ll work on my drawing skills, or finally get back to the novel I wrote that’s sitting on my floor, awaiting edits and rewrites. This is not so much a protest as self-protection, as watching or hearing the event would only result in depression, fear and anger. There are better ways to respond, and I’ll be doing that the day after, on the Boston Common.

The Womens March on Washington will be mirrored in cities across the US and the world and Boston will be no exception. The Boston Womens March Facebook page indicates that 38,000 people have responded “yes,” to say that they’re coming while a total of 40,000 say they’re interested.

I’ll be going to the event with several other people I know. A good friend of mine is the main organizer of our group of 16. That number includes young and old alike and not a few business people as well. We all have something to lose and at least 16 of us are going to let Washington know that we’re watching to make sure our democracy remains intact.

womens-march-usa

Evidently, this march is happening in other countries as well: London, Helsinki, Nairobi, Tokyo, Athens, Capetown and more. I am humbled by this global show of solidarity and sisterhood, also embarrassed and angry that my nation has forced this crisis on so many who have had nothing to do with us or our policies. The US is a huge economic and military power and what we do carries consequences word wide. So, we march and we protest and we do the most we can to stop this wave of extremism that has so traumatically washed up onto our shores.

womens-march-world

I’ll take pictures and share them here. If you’re marching elsewhere, please do the same!