“Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition.” Thomas Jefferson from the Notes on Virginia.
In this new era of globalization, Americans feel adrift, awash and frustrated.
Americans have reason to feel as if they have been left adrift, adrift from their government. A government that has increasingly become the captive of corporate interest’s. Our lives seem more hopeless as we see incomes decrease, cities decay and lives that seem to be stuck in survival mode.
We may have the freedom to pursue happiness but are we happy?
Globalization seems to be working for China as millions are moving to the city and millions of Chinese have moved out of poverty and into the middle class.
While that might be great for China, what has it meant for America? As an Amerian I am happy for China but frankly who cares? I care about my country and what happens here.
What does it matter if globalization means greater profit for multinational corporations while the lives of every day Americans are increasingly awash in stress and mired in a life that lacks meaning and hope?
We find ourselves increasingly frustrated, frustrated by the lack of direction from Washington as obstructionism has given new meaning to divided government.
Our individual plight is one where people can feel overwhelmed, awash in doubt and fear for our future.
Some citizens seek easy answers to their personal financial difficulties by finding refuge in the idea that less government and lower taxes would bring immediate relief to their angst, anger and bitterness. Bitterness that their lives did not turn out the way they had hoped and the outward expression of hate are the natural consequence. People feel the need to blame their plight on someone.
Some individuals feel so alienated, bitterness, and hate are the reactions to America’s new place in the global economy.
American’s innate optimism has turned to pessimism.
Some seek solace and comfort in the movement that is taking place towards more local control. It is a movement that would turn away from globalization and move towards a life where we are more self reliant and more secure.
America has increasingly become a nation of cities and suburbs. In fact the last census indicated that 80% of all Americans now live in cities and suburbs.
What we need is a new direction, a direction away from globalization , away from global dependence to a world with a greater sense of community and local interdependence.
Wall Street, and its minions have sold us out for short term profits. For the last 30 plus years we have seen our individual independence and our nation’s independence sold to those who Jefferson said have designs of ambition.
The Conservative vision of a free trade utopia has left us dependent on others and deep in debt to other countries. Conservatives have not been alone in this theft of our individual independence, President Bill Clinton was extremely infuential in selling us out.
NAFTA and GATT were passed by President Clinton. President Clinton then made the horrifice mistake of allowing Wall Street to have its way and Congress with President Clinton’s urging repealed Glass-Steagall.
We need to return to the land, and we need to return to local community control. Self reliance breeds independence.
Local banks used to provide money in the form of loans to local businesses and small farmers. We need a return to this type of lifestyle because our present lifestyle is not sustainable.
Many suburbs will not be able to sustain its infrastructure because they do not have the tax base sufficient in size to rebuild the local infrastructure when time has had its toll.
Jefferson’s view of an ideal agrarian society of yeoman farmers is an ideal but if some among us return to the land to farm it can only be good. We should provide for our own food in this country of bounty. Being a farmer lends itself to being self reliant and self sufficient.
There is no greater example of what hard work is all about when it comes to being a farmer.
Local commmunity gardens in cities and suburbs, gives citizens a sense of spiritual gratification as they watch the fruit of their labor grow. It gives individuals sustenance and it brings greater meaning to a person’s life.
As Jefferson so wisely stated depemdemce begets subservience. We are living a life dependent on others when we should become more self reliant. We are now the serfs in a new serfdom where the mulitnational corporations are stronger than governments.
Madison Avenue has sold Americans on the value of comfort and owning things. While they may have seemed to have succeeded in that effort, in the process we are left with a life barren of value. We have become a nation that is just a shadow of our former selves.
In this new World Order of free trade and free enterprise, what has been portrayed as a world where new wealth is possible for all, we have seen greater poverty and the largest concentration of wealth in a few hands, since the days immediately prior to the Great Depression.
For a few great wealth has become a reality but for the rest of us we are left with feeling adrift, awash in fear and doubt and frustrated with our daily lives, sincerely worried that our best days are behind us.
We need to return to more local control. Our lives can be once again , be a life worth living if we insist on being self reliant. In making this idea become a reality we must connect our ideas for greater individual independence with those in power.
We need to take a page out of what Vermont is like. They have town hall meeting where citizens have a true say in the outcome of decision making.
If our elected officials fail to listen or continue to vote as if someone other than the voters own them, then we have the ultimate answer, vote them out of office and vote someone in that has the interests of the people at heart instead of the interests of Wall Street.
We must refrain from being that person, the poet Dante talked about when he said, ” The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in a time of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.”
This is not the time to go meekly into the night. It is time to end our complacency and once again to rise above our difficulties to greater heights.