Blogging - where does it begin, where does it stop. Where should it stop.
Paragraphs raising questions, giving different viewpoints, mediating, transgressing, reflecting on topics debated in the 'big' - traditional media or on the net....
Bringing up topics that have been forgotten, due to the fast moving pace of short-lived journalism, reporting, covering of stories.
The War in Iraq, the problems at home, in the inner cities, in the countryside - education, continuing education, going back to school, to work, both.
Health care, financing of higher education, of schools (not all equal, getting different amounts of money, for teachers, materials, administrators..)
People without health insurance, people struggling to make it without, people struggling to pay for their bills, ....and then the job is lost. Insurance is lost, the house is lost, car payments that won't be paid. --- Letting people go, making bigger profits, yet sending people off, shrinking, doing all the work with less personnel . Stocks will improve, certain people will benefit, ......- yet the other side of the coin: losing jobs, houses, patience, for themselves, for each other, for their kids, partners, spouses, parents, grandparents. Mobility - you simply have to be prepared, always be on the lookout, for alternatives, other jobs, sources of income, take a second job, a third one. Sure, you'll be tired, .... maybe some burnout down the road, but ...... you'll save some money. Or do you?
Did you buy a newer car, take care of some house projects, the roof, a new ......clothing, shoes, better food, at better places, better beer or wine, or exquisite delicious items at some deli, imported goods. A new hunting outfit, guns, ammunition, ......- or send your kids to better schools, .....that will raise tuition, housing, and all sorts of fees, in a year or even in between. The state needs money, parking fines, fees for state parks, and many other services will come at a higher cost. Restaurants reduce their portions, increase their prices, for food and beverages, .....- families go out less and less, people eat more at home, fire up the grill in the summer, don't go to the bars that often, or to clubs.
Question things, the set-up we are used to. The fees we have to pay, the amount people charge us, for all sorts of things. Administrations - their incomes, that have gone up a lot over time, maybe too much - compared to the small amounts that people at the lower end got as raises, if at all. Look at the numbers. At the gaps that are increasing between incomes, people, ......- while at the same time, with all the expenses going up, people at the bottom have less and less to work with. Comparing job security in different sectors, changes that occur that people have to deal with, do they? What if over time, only certain job holders are exposed to threats, risks of job loss, and then health concerns, only because they are in lower positions or in certain industries, or somewhere on the educational ladder. Maybe, it's time to ask for changes, for a different distribution of stress, loads, and imposed changes, because the general welfare, society's health, in the long run, must be considered.
In a number of countries, governments have been stressing that individuals should invest more, for themselves, since government programs, social security might run into problems down the road. Yet, from Enron to .....many other scandals, private investments seem to present some risk, oh not the 'normal' ups and downs of the market, who can you trust, whose numbers, especially since the accountants and the companies work hand in hand, not to supervise, not to really present real numbers, but to make a living, to make as much as possible, to take as much as possible, ....without anyone regulating the amounts that reach certain bank accounts.
And only when there is a public outcry, when some participants or observers make the public aware of all the looting that has been going on ......then and only then, the spotlight is on. On the other side of the fence, in some once blooming city, in some now deserted townships, out of sight, hidden behind some curtain, unnoticed by the neighbors, in front of some TVs, there are souls that keep struggling, as long as they can, and keep watching TV - while nobody is watching them, having to take in their sight, through the tube, in a reverse mode. And the ones that make all the dough, do not see, do not have to see how little money remains in the wallets of those souls.
And in churches all over the country, that could play a role, in making sure, that our neighbors are doing ok, are healthy, and somewhat happy ..... people sit on a given Sunday, where they might pray for help, that somehow might get to those unnoticed neighbors, and to their needs. Because that is in the Bible, .... but often forgotten; mentioned in a service, but not heeded in everyday life. People get what they deserve, people have what they deserve, the car they drive, the house they live in, the clothing they wear, the jobs they work, until .... things get lost. And they don't have anymore what they deserve, and - don't they deserve them anymore .....?
But what if they do? - Let's let go of 2000 people. Let's get the work done without 2000 people. Will the people mentioned above still sit in churches, will they still greet their neighbors, live in peace with their neighbors and their family members....
It seems that a few times over the last 20 years, there were some voices that talked about better gas mileage, smaller cars, different engines - and only now after some outcry, certain politicians seem to wake up, seem to care, seem to notice, that people are struggling, that lots of green bucks only to certain people go. More than they should get, more than they need, .....because they and the politicians had forgotten, had pushed aside thoughts of those who barely made a living, .... and even talk of a minimum wage, of a decent income had long been decried. As poison for jobs, for the economy, while the real poison was left untouched, .....and was able to do its work.
Long gone are the 60ies, .....when employers and unions, politicians and the media, worked out a deal to have decent wages, improved living conditions, and reasonable jobs. Technology marched forward, was able to do excellent things, marvelous things. Freed up some time, for golf, for entertainment, for leisure. But then, things changed, global competition, global competitors, cheaper production elsewhere - progress, yet more health concerns, more stress, more pills, more operations, more mental problems or does it only seem that way.
A recent UofM study pointed out the connection between the risk of losing one's job and stress and major health problems - the strange thing is .... That must have been known for decades, but people preferred to leave it alone, to not draw attention to a potentially controversial topic. And in a few weeks, most will have 'forgotten' what is going on. And many didn't even hear about it, since many newspapers and TV stations did not cover it.
Only one example of a major problem in modern life, at work all the time, with all its destructive power. - Yet many people, especially the ones in charge, form all sorts of commissions, start all sorts of research projects and focus on all sorts of other things as being the cause for health and other problems we have to deal with. Leaving aside maybe the major one that will impede people on their way to happiness.
The prison system - where does it fit in. No jobs, no future, people need money for food and clothing, for housing. People could go roam the streets, prey upon unsuspecting citizens going for their daily walk or they could go hunting in the woods, forests wherever they are to find food for themselves or their family. They could raid the houses of the rich, who then would have to build fences or walls, like in some other countries, and sometimes even here. Or do people simply open the door of their modest house or apartment, step outside, and a thought or drive takes over and they attack s.o. and take that person's car and wallet, there seem to be more occurrences of robberies even in the streets of Ann Arbor, although lately, things seem to have calmed down, robberies at some gas stations, liquor stores and elsewhere seem on the rise though, in South Eastern Michigan. The number of people in prison is ever-growing, and no one seems to care or worry where this trend will lead us. Billions are spent on weapons, while dimes are spent on research to prevent some crimes. It's easier to produce guns, tanks, and laser weapons - compared to finding ways to prevent crime.
How much money and time is spent interviewing the pros, the people that have committed the many crimes, learn more about this phenomenon - so that ways could be found to have less people go down those paths which eventually will lead them behind walls, if not out of this world. What do we need - more sensational headlines, more cries, more dead babies, or dead mothers, coworkers or bosses or even school kids? More movies on DVD, or articles or books? Or Songs on CDs that sell so well. What could have stopped Proofs death - another EMINEM song, or movie, or a million men or people's march? No, most people are tired, want to get some rest over the weekend, or at night, they want to go to church or the movies, ..... and forget. Some vote every 4 years, some even less. At times, there is idealism, that wakes up, at some school or rally or in some classroom. Or maybe even at some dinner table, where one or two are gathered, on some rare occasion.
There's a picture that comes to my mind, of New Orleans, of the Jazz Festival (it's that time of year again, the second Post-Katrina event after Mardi Gras), some years ago. Whole families, in an African-American neighborhood, enjoying an evening in front of their houses, eating and talking, and being happy. That's what we need - and a lot more of it, people all over having some time off, and spending it with family, friends and neighbors - these moments will provide the kit that can hold together a society, that can strengthen the ties, the good vibes between people and help them overcome the bad ones. It won't solve all the problems, but it will go a long way towards improving things.
And we need politicians and media that contribute to it, that spread those vibes - those thoughts, and actions. That do care and help.