Life is exhausting.
The PCBs and high levels of mercury in fish from chemicals dumped into our lakes, rivers, and oceans, not so thoroughly checked by the FDA. The radiation in the Pacific as a result of the nuclear disaster in Fukishima. (Although that which is in the air and water has been deemed diluted to the point of negligible, it is reported to still exist in migrated fish, like tuna, along U.S. western shores.) Multi-million and -billion dollar energy and pharmaceutical entrepreneurs, who, among others, in large courtesy of the multiple special-interest groups the industrialist Koch brothers alone fund, propagandize ‘freedom’ in damnable poetic terms of ‘free enterprise’ supporting an American Dream defined as the freedom to make as much money as we want. How is advocating this not considered evil? I like actual politics – the art of it – but we know it is no longer being practiced. And soon there will be actual data, in a study to be released later this Fall, proving this. We allegedly have a Democratic President who does not use his bully pulpit to throw rhetorical rage up the asses of those enchanted – correctly so – with our greatest Constitutional power. This is his job, to get Congress to work with him/her. Otherwise, they historically prove to be failures; fortunate to be elected to a second term. Yet Congress still goes right on ignoring his more namby-pamby moralizing, and instead pile into their first-class bandwagons spending weekends with the mutually high-funded and influential who legally side-step their occupation as anything other than ‘lobbyist’ on their W-2s – all-in-all, twofold polluting the air we breathe and the food we eat. I wish I had the power to become invisible, to sneak into meetings and private offices, record conversations, read confidential documents, unveil terrible evidence with the non-mainstream media, and walk away scot-free. But I cannot have this power, and do not want to be made invisible, because I live in reality. I know the majority of us who live in rural and suburban parts prefer living in a world of Batmans and Avengers – or fantasy sports – and less within the actual one. We live in a world that is increasingly, cynically self-preserving; a generational cold war of compromised death. We largely prefer to devolve, self-involved. It’s comedic. It’s hilarious. It’s sexy. None of what I am saying is news to anybody. Yet I feel compelled to keep tabs on all of it. It’s crazy…
Working two jobs doesn’t help against the exhaustion, either.
Democracy is very moral. Capitalism is very amoral. The McCutcheon v. F.E.C. decision is the most recent, obvious reflection of how we’re veering away from a democratically run system. I am not surprised by the ball-less, aloof, and ineffectively debunking (in this case) on the part of the Democrats – originally botched by the Solicitor General, when asked by Justice Alito, over Citizens United – that money is speech. If money is speech, then what is lack of money?! Once more, for the sake of posterity, I and millions of others do not measure personal or social growth in terms of financial worth. Wealth, in any of its –isms, corrupts.
If you were to donate fifty or even two-thousand dollars to a major political campaign, do you really feel you’re contributing next to someone donating $19 million? In 2008, then Senator Obama raised over $750 million for his presidential campaign. In 2012, as predicted, both the President and former Governor Romney each raised over a billion dollars. The economy was the overwhelming issue over the course of this gruelingly shallow and media-scared campaign. Neither potential leader really wanted to step on that rail of exemplifying vision or leadership. And because both appeared to spend the majority of their campaigns railing against the other’s economic policy (or, lack thereof) most people did not so much vote for their guy but pretty vehemently against the other.
Voter-turnout wasn’t great, as has been the case in recent years. About 93 out of 219 million eligible voters (roughly 43%) did not vote in 2012, in contrast to the predicted billion dollars, each, that had been raised?
Last year, I paid about $800 in state taxes. Upon filing my W-2, I ended up owing $249 back to the state. I ended up owing roughly 30% more of what I had already, relatively meagerly paid.
Democrats, true to norm, announced they wanted to make income-inequality the official theme of their 2016 midterm campaigns. (…You might argue this is why the party exists in the first place.) The economist Dean Baker recently wrote: ‘If the minimum wage had risen in step with productivity growth it would be over $16.50/hour today.’ According to numerous sources, the typical worker’s annual salary, adjusted to inflation, has not increased since 1979. According to the more moderate Economic Policy Institute (in contrast to the more left-leaning, aforementioned AFL-CIO), by the end of the 1960s the ratio of CEO-to-typical-worker salaries reached no higher than 20:1. Now, they estimated it to be anywhere between 202 and 272:1, depending on measurement of options. …The federal government recently raised the income-tax on people making $450,000/year from 35% to 39.6%, (despite how, through loopholes, they manage to pay a less average tax-rate than the average worker). Yet, the payroll tax for the other 150 million other working Americans went up about 48%, from 4.2% to 6.2%!
So, how would corporate-CEOs respond if all hourly paid, corporate employees threatened to truly organize, online, and, without bluffing, simply set a date to stop working in demand of higher wages?
This may sound like a brash haggling tactic, but look at those numbers again if you have to. When I looked at that first figure – $16.50/hour as a minimum wage – the next question of course became do exceedingly wealthy CEOs, hedge-fund managers, investment bankers, etc., have to make as much as they do? Of course not. And then the next question is how is each of our financial values reasonably determined?
The fact that one can be “capped out” at an hourly paid position, as I was recently informed at my f/t job, is relatively absurd.
Student loan debt is now higher than credit card and auto-loan debt, and second only to mortgage-loan debt. Most people deserve the benefit of the doubt to want to go to college but just can’t afford it. I currently cannot afford to start investing in a Roth-IRA, on top of my apprehension to invest and trade in general in the market. That whole business seems like a sport of hyped-up (among other substances) males in uniformed, rolled-up sleeves and ties with whom I’d normally prefer not to associate.
I cannot create my own world of vitality, self-responsibility, and moral courage, and so search for such a community to move to, away from family and friends. This is a typical, albeit still very difficult, pain. Good writing is not a solo, point-A-to-B type trade. It is communal (…the opposite of long-winded). You are dealing with emotions and so need to be around a community who recognizes having them; who are in each way displeased with the current state of things, and willing to coagulate each of their displeasures into some backbone.
There are great songs, movies, books, information – all at the touch of a smartphone – people, and ideas, all out there behind the veneer of pop/dominant culture. For instance, businesses that are ‘for-benefit’, as opposed to for-profit or not-for-profit, whose m.o. is to donate a copy of a product they sell to a person living in a third-world country.
We as responsible adults are above the realization we disagree on things, having rarely – if ever – been able to sort out any and all betrayals from our younger days. We are above empathizing with various acts of ‘evil’ committed all over, the world over, every second, from susceptibility to the indiscriminate demands of free enterprise. We all know our ageless souls/wavelengths crisscross in bodily form for just a cosmic blink, and anyone who has ever gazed out across an ocean, or a wide open landscape, is embedded with this feeling. So it is illogical, then, to be so fervently inconsiderate of the other. Straight cowardice, actually.
Life is not a business. It’s personal. Things will only always stay the same unless we very simply start to change the political tone.
As for a quick end-note on personal health…
I know it is hypocritical, but I will continue to work with the cooking and selling of meat and seafood, until I figure out where I want to settle. I own cats, who are unfortunately incapable of maintaining a vegetarian or vegan diet. Dogs can, as far as I know. But as far as my cats go, who have always eaten well and not the crap that mostly sits on supermarket shelves, their tiny metabolisms will from now on get dry and moist food comprised of poultry, rice, and vegetables.
And I would like to one day return to no longer advocating for the slaughter of fellow, sentient creatures at human hands. We’re all the same color, same creed, on the inside, as us human animals are endowed with a far greater capacity for thinking and feeling, and able to maintain a full life without meat while comfortably allowing of course for the occasional vice. (Since keeping tabs on health can be stressful enough, and stress, then, is what it is, any proper diet should allow for an occasional coffee, or beer, or such.)
Advancements in soy replacement-meat products, which for the most part taste perfectly fine, to go with organically grown fruit, vegetables, starches, and herbs, have made it incredibly easier to eat vegan, than ever before. And finally, people who know me know that I have never been the ‘militant’ sort of vegetarian. I can only strongly encourage things and have never insisted on doing other people’s thinking for them. I tend to very much dislike it when others do this with me, so instead would rather do the other person’s listening for them whenever openly misinterpreted.
 http://www.epi.org/publication/ceo-pay-2012-extraordinarily-high/ Also an interesting read: http://www.sfgate.com/politics/joegarofoli/article/Thumbs-up-for-15-an-hour-minimum-wage-in-new-5321206.php.
 If sex, wealth, or seeking the acceptance of my father were any of my typical motivators I think I could have cashed in on any number of million dollar-ideas by now: bacon-wrapped cigars, a mosh-pit video game from when I was in my early twenties. Heck, even late-night comedy writing. But I have pesky scruples. ;)