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Yesterday I was driving and noticed that a young man  made a lane change a little too short from another car, and he had to step on the breaks hard as he stopped right behind me.  I noticed this while I was looking at rear-view mirror.  From what I saw, it was obviously an honest mistake, no big deal.

Anyways, there was this young lady behind him and she also had to step on her brakes... That's the sort of thing that happens often, so it really is not big deal after all.

I'm fully aware some people get enraged when they feel they've dangerously cut-off in traffic, and they may react with hand expressions or honking their horns in disapproval...

But in this case what I saw was totally out of proportion.  The young lady did get upset, and did started honking, but she got within one centimeter behind the car, and kept the horn on nonstop.  It was very loud.  When the traffic started moving, she stayed right behind him within one inch, and kept the horn stuck.  I noticed that the young man was kind of scared as this woman stayed behind with the horns engaged non-stop.  You could see in her face she was enraged.

I'm sure everybody recognizes that as a road rage incident.  But here's the thing; from an anecdotal account, I can attest to the fact that I've seen a marked increase of this type of behavior in multiple settings.

It's like many people are literally walking time bombs.  Their emotional state so damaged that it causes them to walk around with blinding rage, and any little perceived transgression causes them to fly off the handle.

The other day I heard in the news about this woman that tried to commit suicide by crashing her car against some structure (I don't remember all the details).  It turned out that she had been staying at a hotel room with her two kids.  The woman survived the crash, and told the police that her two kids were at the hotel room--they were dead.

When I hear stories like this one of the first things that comes to mind is what type of pressure or unfortunate circumstances would push somebody over the edge.

And as I think about it, what comes to mind are the structural and systemic socioeconomic conditions that help exacerbate the suffering of the most vulnerable among us.

I think many people would agree that those conditions are the result of the unprecedented level of income inequality, the results of the massive trillion-dollars looting by the Wall Street criminal racketeering cartel (my interpretation), and other structural issues that arise from the imposition of Neoliberalism.

And also it is the result of people having bought the lie of "individualism," which is nothing more than a manipulative abstraction meant to prevent people from uniting in solidarity.

And I think about the practicalities of the concepts of empathy and altruism.

If you, yes you the person reading this, happen to fall into hard times and lose everything and find yourself in dire need of help, what would happen if you come to my door, knock, and ask me for help?

About if the situation is so dire that you have no money, your health is failing, your emotional state is compromised, and you've run out of options?

Can I help?  Am I in a position to alleviate your suffering?  If I'm just like any other middle class person, maybe there is really not that much I can do.  Maybe I can lend a hand with some money (if I have it), some food, maybe a ride to an appointment, but overall, is not going to be hardly enough to really help you.  And what about if I'm having my own struggles, hunkering down trying to keep things afloat, taking care of immediate family and immediate needs?

And as I think about that quandary, I ask myself: "Okay, so maybe I can't do much, but what about if I was a member of a group of 1,000 people who had decided to change their socioeconomic paradigm away from mindless hyper-consumerism, and individualism in favor of collectivism and sustainability?"

Obviously the question itself is a though experiment since as of today, there is very little of that going on in or society.  But it is something worth thinking about nevertheless.  And that is especially true in today's environment where the Corporate/Government alliance dictated by Neoliberalism is systematically tearing down the social safety net, and undermining human and constitutional rights.

One other thing touching on these concepts of empathy, altruism, and individualism; when I think about these issues my own situation, regardless of whether is comfortable or dire, doesn't even cross my mind.  I never think about these things from a self-interest perspective.

In other words, whether I'm making huge amounts of money with a six figure salary (which I have), or whether I'm in a parked car partially covered by snow in some city in the East Coast, turning on the heater every couple of hours or so to avoid freezing to death (which I've also experienced), doesn't factor in when it comes to my thinking about these issues.

However, I've noticed that many people that consider these larger social issues tend to be influenced by their own situation.  If they are doing fine, then there seems to be a lack of understanding about the urgency of the situation (when it comes to the whole system); if they are in a dire situation, they of course (and naturally) worry about just surviving, staying viable.

Could that be the effect of social conditioning?  Are we being conditioned to be selfish, self-absorbed, individualistic?  Why do you think that is?

Lately I've been noticing another thing I haven't seen before (at least at this level): I've been noticing older ladies (I'd say in their late 50's, early 60's) pulling large (wheeled) luggage while walking on sidewalks.  What's striking is that they don't look like the typical homeless person.  What comes to mind is that they have been recently displaced; that they may have just run out of options and are newly homeless.

I make a point to look at their faces, their eyes, and I notice both, a sense of resilience, and sense of fear and apprehension.

And then I look around and see the world moving on like nothing; she's invisible to the rest of us.  How must it feel to to be invisible to an entire society?  A society that in the final analysis has more accumulated wealth than any society in the history of the world--albeit in the hands of the one percent.

And I think about that woman, when she was a child, her growing up, her education, he family, jobs, struggles, successes, failures, her humanity, her vulnerabilities, her story, and then ending up in the streets out of options, and seemingly invisible to the rest of us.

As she walks pulling her large luggage, and she thinks about her diminishing options, does it ever cross her mind that maybe somebody with enough wherewithal will notice and help her?

I think like that; I think about the prisoners being torture with solitary confinement and force feeding; about residents in inner-city communities left to rot in crime, unemployment, and failing infrastructure, all of it which is the result of systemic oppression and neglect.  I think about undocumented immigrants being held in for-profit prison camps.  I think about the innocent people shot to death by police with total impunity...

There are so many injustices in this increasingly brutal system.  Does one must be directly affected by it in order to recognize this fact?  Isn't that the exact opposite of empathy?

There are things we can do... But first we need to start thinking differently; we need to change the paradigm.

Here's an additional perspective, and suggestions:


P.S. There is a small group of users who regularly engage in disruptive behavior in my diaries' discussion threads.  I would like to ask people interested in serious discussion to avoid engaging these few folks in any way.  They usually engage in insults, mockery, and fallacies intended to derail discussion, and post several dozens messages each.  I know this may be annoying to some readers and may prompt them to engage these folks.  I highly recommend that they be ignored so we can focus on intelligent discussion.
Market For The People |Ray Pensador | Email List | Twitter | Facebook
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Comment Preferences

  •  Not 100% on topic but (20+ / 0-)

    I just posted this in a FB convo where people were discussing thoughtless adults letting their kids run wild in the grocery store:

    There's a whole other level of contempt for others that is ultra-chic these days. The "I know you're there but your existence means so little to me and I'm so much more important than you are that I'll walk right over you/push my shopping cart right through you and be pissed that you got in my way" thing. Which is very difficult for a blind person to deal with, it's one thing to see these people coming and dodge them, but I can't do that any more.

    Clap On, Clap Off, The Clapper!

    by ActivistGuy on Thu Sep 19, 2013 at 12:05:12 PM PDT

  •  FDR basically said we were all in this together (24+ / 0-)

    St. Ronnie emphatically said that we weren't.  Since 1980, Reagan's viewpoint has generally dominated.  While I'm oversimplifying things a little, all analyses of this nature need to start w/ that basic point.

    While most Americans may not know that the gains of the currently recovery have almost exclusively gone to the 1%, they DO know that more and more of them are fighting for less and less.  They have one party that tells them that their struggles are the fault of immigrants, welfare queens, and the 47% who mooch from the "producers."  The other party tells them that the deficit is the biggest problem.

    Given that set of circumstances, things are amazingly placid.

    Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

    by RFK Lives on Thu Sep 19, 2013 at 12:20:01 PM PDT

    •  That's why I think that there is no other option (18+ / 0-)

      than for people to start organizing, coming up with alternative ways of thinking about sustainable economic principles.

      We need to stay engage in the political system, but we need to understand that it is highly compromised and unresponsive to people's needs.

      •  We have three major things that are intertwined (14+ / 0-)

        and broken, the environment, the economy and the government.  All three are broken from a root cause, the mishandling of a capitalistic economy.  What we have economically barely qualifies as capitalism since the system is actively working against competition in the marketplace.  This has been accomplished through the capture of the political system and as a side effect of a poorly regulated economy we have climate change.

        We do not have the luxury of time when it comes to the environment so what has to happen is all three things need to be untangled and reworked simultaneously.  We have to end the carbon-based economy and while we are doing that we can level the playing fields and work to prevent a massive concentration in wealth.

      •  MERS was and still is illegal. Bring back the Rule (6+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kharma, Chi, Sandino, RFK Lives, joanneleon, Joieau

        of Law first and prosecute fraud at the highest levels. RICO suits etc. Then do something like the eminent domain to fix the People's mortgages. Get Elizabeth Warren, Byron Dorgan, Brooksley Born, Bunnatine Greenhouse- all these people to a conference about how else we could do things. Then use the social media to teach it outside of the commercial media.

            Then we need to realize that the technology behind the modern version of thermal depolymerisation does work. It's like the world's largest pressure cooker, imitating nature. Big oil is working to keep you from knowing that.
             With it we could scoop up the landfills of the world and pour them into the hopper, thus cleaning the planet while creating home heating oil and diesel fuel. By the time we're done cleaning up all the plastic trash all over the land and gyrating in the sea, we will hopefully have figured out newer, better sources and ways of creating power. Beyond "recycling"- I say: ashes to ashes, dust to dust, and long-chain polymers back to primeval soup.

        I also would like to see this because TDP is the only known process to destroy prion proteins.

        We are all pupils in the eyes of God.

        by nuclear winter solstice on Thu Sep 19, 2013 at 01:00:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Here's one point I keep focusing on: there will (6+ / 0-)

          be no "bringing back" of anything that makes sense, any justice, any reversing of the current trends.  We are talking about a tyrannical ruling class not dissimilar from previous ones in history.

          They will have be to forced to relent.

          •  Well, there's force. (5+ / 0-)

            and there's force of persuasion. The problem with revolutions are the people who 'lead' revolutions. Who inevitably seem to turn out to be as bad or badder of despots than the last guys.

            My older sister joined the SDS when she went off to college. She came home for Christmas chock full of radical rhetoric and revolutionary fervor, encouraging me to start a chapter at my school. Which I wasn't keen to do.

            She was convinced of the need for drastic change, enamored (at that time) of the glorious (but imagined) future that youth would bring to a tired and corrupt system. Tear it down! was the mantra.

            So I asked the begged question - what then? That stumped her, she'd never thought about that part. So I told her that behind all the rhetoric and revolutionary fervor, there had to be someone (or a group of someones) who knew very well 'what next'. And the very fact that she didn't know what it was meant she probably wouldn't like it if she did know what it was. She didn't make it another month in SDS, so apparently she didn't get any acceptable answers when she got back to school, either.

            So. What's your revolutionary game plan? And what comes next?

            •  I never, ever advocate violence of any kind. (6+ / 0-)

              I think people tend to confuse concepts of power and coercion with violence.

              You have to understand, these tyrants are not going to be persuaded easily no matter what type of reasonable argument you put forward.  They are going to have to be coerced, forced into yielding to the people's wishes.

              That can happen without violence, but there has to be some serious power behind it, unity, solidarity, to the point where the tiny ruling elite actually feels fear of the people, instead of the other way around.

              Think about this quote:

              If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning.

              They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what a people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both.

              The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress. Men may not get all they pay for in this world; but they must pay for all they get. If we ever get free from all the oppressions and wrongs heaped upon us, we must pay for their removal. We must do this by labor, by suffering, by sacrifice, and, if needs be, by our lives, and the lives of others.

              - Frederick Douglass

              He's not saying that violence is the only way to defeat tyranny.  He's saying that it can happen, either through words, or through lows, or with both.

              Obviously, when the oppression gets to an extreme level the obvious result will be violence.  But that's not something I advocate in any way shape or form.

              All my activism revolves around totally legal, peaceful and constitutional means.

              •  Great response, Ray. (0+ / 0-)

                When I was young and radical (don't let my caution to sis fool ya - there's a reason she wanted ME to join her revolution) we were all about legal, peaceful and constitutional means. We got fire hoses, tear gas and batons regularly, Dr. King and RFK got publicly assassinated, and the '68 DNC was a regular made for teevee movie about the piggiest of pig-state tactics. As if that wasn't bad enough, they started killing us out in the open on the campus commons.

                Many people say that turned the tide, that middle-aged Amerika finally had enough of the government killing their kids. But that was bullshit, 'Nam went on for another five way too long years and thousands more died for nothing. The response to OWS only makes it look like the pigs have become much piggier since then, I've no reason to believe they won't kill wholesale those who protest being killed slowly by engineered mass poverty and destruction of the so-called 'safety net'.

                This time they want it all, and will settle for nothing less. Hell, right now the astroturf actors playing 'bad guys' in the DC Kabuki Theatre promise to shut down the already sequestered government just 10 days from now if health insurance reform isn't recinded entirely. They want us dead, and don't care if they have to do it with bullets and bombs instead of starvation and lack of health care. It's all okay now, because 9-11.

                I can see that revolution is coming, with or without leaders or plans for what comes next. Which is probably apropos given that we are so very unlikely to win. I don't see that millions will hit the streets to make convenient targets of themselves. Too many are struggling too hard just for the next inadequate paycheck to do much else. Positively depressing.

                •  Here's one perspective: (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  This is something I've mentioned before... I argue that throughout history, whether we're talking about 30, or 75, or 100, or 500 years ago, there have been certain dynamics between ruling elites and the citizenry.

                  I argue that the one powerful tool the ruling elite of every era uses is deceit, manipulation, propaganda.  Their Praetorian guards, as it were, is their secondary shield.

                  And throughout history the oppressed have found a way to rise up against the oppression.  And most of them had it worst than us, when it comes to the odds of "winning."

                  And yet, people have always rising up against oppression (eventually).

                  I'm an eternal optimist, and I understand that the narrative that says we can't do anything about the corruption and oppression is just that, a propagandist narrative.

                  As long as we (the people) believe it, then it will be true.  The minute we don't believe anymore, the lie dies and the tyranny ends.  No tiny ruling elite can keep control of millions of millions of people who have awakened to a common understanding.  It can't be done.

                  And again, that's why the ruling elites spends such an extraordinary effort on deceit, and propaganda.

                  I don't reject violence out of any kind of knee-jerk reaction or dogma.  I reject it because it is self-defeating and ineffective when it comes to revolutionary uprising (which I think can, and has happen with peaceful means).

                  I reject the notion that once people have become aware of the true nature of the system that they will react by cowering in fear.  I have more faith on people, and always will.

                  Finally, I argue that once one has identified the true nature of the system, if one is an activist, then that means that the struggle will be a life-long commitment, day after day, year after year.

                  And I argue that no matter the circumstances, every citizen can join in the struggle, even if they can only invest a tiny portion of their time or resources.

                  I would feel like that even if I was writing this from a public library because I happen to be a homeless person in LA's skid row... And I know that because from (similar) experiences.

        •  Re (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          nuclear winter solstice
             Then we need to realize that the technology behind the modern version of thermal depolymerisation does work. It's like the world's largest pressure cooker, imitating nature. Big oil is working to keep you from knowing that.
          Uh huh, sure.

          If something like thermal polymerization worked economically it would be a license to print money. Oil companies could double or triple their profits by selling it. It would be impossible to suppress and no one would want to.

          (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
          Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

          by Sparhawk on Thu Sep 19, 2013 at 02:41:17 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  this is why I specifically asked John Hofmeister (0+ / 0-)

            about it and he admitted, in a public forum, that yes, gee it does in fact actually work. Certainly the Big Oil companies don't want people to know that, and losing their grip on the economy is the reason why. He's not going all-out for change because he's a greenwasher and it would conflict with his version.

            We are all pupils in the eyes of God.

            by nuclear winter solstice on Fri Sep 20, 2013 at 04:21:40 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Good diary Ray... (10+ / 0-)

    I see it that way too.  Selfishness and thoughtlessness are so pervasive nowdays.  When people talk loudly on a cell phone, or let their kids trash a restaraunt or even cut you off in traffic.  It's this thing where people are semi-anonymous so they don't give a care who they offend or step on.  In the old days, when we knew everyone in our neighborhoods or streets, people were more apt to take care to not offend others, because for one thing, they had to live with the results.  Now, just like the rudeness online (but slightly less extreme) we have become a culture of take and never give, because selfishness is easy when you are anonymous.
    Empathy is putting yourself in someones else's position and contemplating how you would feel being them.  When you do that, you don't cut people off in traffic, or let your kids trash the place.

    When the reality is unpleasant and hard to believe, it's easiest to cloak it in the camouflage of CT.

    by kharma on Thu Sep 19, 2013 at 12:51:56 PM PDT

  •  I recently read a book (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kharma, FloridaSNMOM, ladybug53


    I think this speaks to a lot of what you're talking about in terms of how we can organize.

  •  Agree with your observations. People ARE getting (11+ / 0-)

    more and more angry.  Unfortunately, they turn on each other because it is so difficult to get to those who are actually accountable for our sad state of affairs.  

    The development of this awareness: who the REAL enemy is--was clamped down upon with an iron fist, as we all witnessed with OWS.  

    One can only hope that eventually there will be enough people mad enough to effect change. To demand it.

    I hope I live to see that day.

    If the plutocrats begin the program, we will end it. -- Eugene Debs.

    by livjack on Thu Sep 19, 2013 at 01:02:35 PM PDT

  •  Captialism makes people mean, they are always (8+ / 0-)

    watching to be sure no one gets their share of the pie, dog eat dog, you only get what you can pay may be unconscious for most but it is there underneath, very unforgiving system, one screw up and you can lose everything, no more 40 acres and a mule, you must fit into the system

  •  The lady with the luggage (6+ / 0-)

    May have gotten off a train and be on the way home.
    Or not.

    A 2010 study by the Homeless Research Institute, an arm of the National Alliance to End Homelessness, projected that the number of elderly people who are homeless would increase by 33 percent, from 44,172 in 2010 to 58,772 by 2020, and would double to 95,000 by 2050.

    We should be doing something about that, before we get to 2020, The thing is - what will help? I do know that opining about neoliberalism and pondering over social conditioning isn't it. Given the apparent passion you have for people like this, I wish you could expend it in more productive ways.

    “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

    by Catte Nappe on Thu Sep 19, 2013 at 01:33:10 PM PDT

    •  Your good works (6+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Chi, Kombema, erratic, Hey338Too, Vetwife, DeadHead

      set an example for us all.  Thanks for taking the time out to share that link.

    •  Thank you. I've written several diaries with (8+ / 0-)

      very specific suggestions, and I've put together some tools online.  I have other plans as well regarding outreach, organizing, etc.

      Here is one project I'm developing:

      Market For The People
      I've also put together a list of about 400 people from around the country: see map.

      Here are some diaries with suggestions:

      1. It's Time For Action
      2. The Audacity of Hope
      3. You Keep Asking For Solutions: Here They Are

      And then I also suggest people watch the Chris Hedges video at the end of the diary where he offers suggestions (as I clearly indicated).

      We all know that these issues are hard to resolve and no one person can't do it on his or her own.

      Part of what I do is try to prompt people to think differently, to reject the status quo narrative, and to figure out the best courses of action.

      I have very specific ideas I will continue to elaborate on and share, and will also reach out to people in real space...

      This is a lifelong endeavor... Or I think it should be for anybody interested in further social justice.

    •  Well, you could always lead by example (10+ / 0-)

      rather than just telling people how they're doing it wrong all the time.  That's one option.

      I'm always curious about those who complain about complaining, or complain about extended or repeated discussion of problems.  I'm trained in problem solving and have spent decades in my career zeroing in on problems and working with groups to find solutions.  The setting was more structured, true, in engineering and IT but basically, that was my job, or leading or management of same.  One thing that I know from experience is that the requirements phase is one of the most if not the most important phase of any problem solving exercise or project.  So you have to spend a lot of time on it. Informing and discussing and coming to a full understanding of the problems are key because if you don't understand the problem, and if everyone involved from top to bottom doesn't understand the problem then the project will fail.

      So I don't look at complaining or discussion of problems and brainstorming of potential solutions as a bad thing. In fact, I think it's a great thing.

      Have you (and others who do the same thing) ever thought about why you're compelled to tell people they're doing it wrong when they engage in this kind of informing or brainstorming?  A rush to a solution without understanding the problem(s) and communicating it well across a group is often a guarantee of failure after expending time, energy, resources, etc.  Why is it that you're discouraging the discussion of problems and concepts here?  

      It's also not reasonable to ask one person to come up with a solution on their own. It's precisely these kinds of discussions and brainstorming, sometimes over a long period of time, that lead to analysis and suggestions for solutions or partial solutions.  Small groups can do amazing things working together, but as I'm sure everyone knows, it can take time and it can take the right opportunities coming along, etc.

      "Justice is a commodity"

      by joanneleon on Thu Sep 19, 2013 at 05:08:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Good for you (4+ / 0-)
        I'm trained in problem solving and have spent decades in my career zeroing in on problems and working with groups to find solutions.  The setting was more structured, true, in engineering and IT but basically, that was my job, or leading or management of same.
        I, too, am trained in problem solving and have earned some positive reputation for success in that endeavor. I've spent decades directly helping those who are hungry, homeless, hopeless; and dealing with (and helping to change) systems at the local, state and national levels.

        Identifying the problems is necessary. Brainstorming solutions is necessary. None of the progress I have seen has ever involved discussion of neoliberalism, propaganda, social conditioning, or similar topics. These are the kinds of issues that marginalize too many liberal activists as being ivory tower elitists.

        “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

        by Catte Nappe on Thu Sep 19, 2013 at 06:26:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  So... (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          DeadHead, Dianna, Sandino, joanneleon, JVolvo

          has your little poke at the diarist solved any problems? Or has it instead created more division?

          None of the progress I have seen has ever involved discussion of neoliberalism, propaganda, social conditioning, or similar topics.
          Just because these issues don't have significance to your personal experience doesn't mean it isn't important to discuss these factors. If you don't relate to this, you can solve the problem by respecting the points of view of others.

          Many of us see humanity on a path to self destruction. Talking about how to turn this around before it's too late is meaningful to some of us. Dismissing these grave concerns as unimportant isn't helping.

          The reasons we're on this destructive path is due to international neoliberal hegemony. How to stop this is something worth discussing. If people you support end up being identified as part of the problem, I can see why you might object to this discussion. So be it. But you won't stop it from occurring by making us enemies.

          "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

          by ZhenRen on Thu Sep 19, 2013 at 07:53:34 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Why talk about fish (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          when you can give people fish?

      •  You will quickly see that the intent of that post (6+ / 0-)

        wasn't on the up and up.  It's a jab.  Thanks for your contribution to the discussion.

      •  Definitely. This is one of those comments I want (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bwren, DeadHead, erratic, Dianna

        to be able to bold and put arrows on the page pointing to it. Since I can't, sending it to Top Comments.

        At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

        by serendipityisabitch on Thu Sep 19, 2013 at 07:12:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  long story short... (11+ / 0-)

    we'd be less stressed with more money in our pockets.

    I sing praises in the church of nonsense, but in my heart I'm still an atheist, demanding sense of all things.

    by jbou on Thu Sep 19, 2013 at 01:52:12 PM PDT

  •  These challenges can overwhelm (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AoT, erratic, ladybug53, Hillbilly Dem

    any one person, both politically and individually. Personally, I just try to do a little, on each level, every day, and don't always succeed.

    Sometimes all I can do is give $5 to a liberal candidate through DKos.

    Or maybe volunteer some time to help folks research an air pollution permit.

    And then thank heaven I've got a roof over my own head.

    Stirring diary, Brother Ray.

    “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

    by 6412093 on Thu Sep 19, 2013 at 02:15:20 PM PDT

  •  This attitude is creeping within families also. (6+ / 0-)

    I have a sister who works for the state in the dispensing food stamps office and she thinks most of the poor are scamming the state. (She conveniently forgets she probably wouldn't have a job if there weren't so many poor folks...and that she was on welfare when she was young, unmarried and pregnant..))

    Having received my first 'food handout' a special program for low income seniors (50.00 of food each month), no choices but it does make me feel a bit more secure, I wonder what she'll say to me when she finds out?...

    "Life without emotions is like an engine without fuel."

    "It's said that the honest man has nothing to hide. Not true. The honest man has to hide himself, because honest men are the prime targets of those who lie." (TY Hannah:)

    by roseeriter on Thu Sep 19, 2013 at 02:47:10 PM PDT

  •  Social democracies like the nordic countries (8+ / 0-)

    get this right.  Progressive higher taxes pay for a real and strong social safety net.  Their people's health and level of happiness is much higher than ours.  Is it any wonder?

  •  An older lady... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ladybug53, JVolvo

    The segment in your diary reminded me of something I just read..

    Adjunct - non-tenured and often part-time - professors make up over half of all university faculty nationwide. Those million or so "throwaway citizens," making  Mcwages that equal about a third of their tenured colleagues, get no health care or other benefits, have no job security and often take second jobs - for one, stacking shelves at Trader Joe's - to make ends meet. Increasingly, they are looking to unionize, and being fought every step of the way by well-paid administrators of lush  colleges charging inflated tuitions. Although Duquesne had initially agreed to abide by the results of their union election, they later appealed to the NLRB, arguing its status as a "religious" school should exempt it - thus arguing, notes one critic, that it's too Catholic for government rules but not Catholic enough to follow its own teachings.
    They couldn't get someone to fix her furnace?!
  •  Today not even 12 hours ago (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FishOutofWater, ladybug53, DeadHead, Nance

    I was at the SSA.   A building in Ocala..  The fire dept arrived.  The Hazmat crew arrived...the Special Operations arrived.. All sorts of special operaitons arrived.   The whole building was evacuated or possible chemicals of some sort..
    Bomb?  Don't know. Most people did not know why they were being evacuated.. I was in the bathroom and my 18 year old was saying Mom ...get out of the building !!!
    I noticed...I was not in a panic.... I was not even in a hurry to leave the building but the strange thing is...No one else was either.   No one was rushing...No one was talking except for complaining about losing thier place in line.   Two people were having eye problems from chemical exposure what no one knew.  No one asked that I saw.  I did.  I did ask what was going on and should we completely leave the area.  The hazmat specialits said no we are cleaning the ventiation and investigation.   The
    ambulance arrived but the burned eye victims did not want to be transported to the hospital.

    I observed a pregnant woman who was hot and aggravated at her 3 year old.  I saw another take a hit of oxygen.  I saw another going over a checkbook.  I thought
    WHAT THE HELL !!!!!   What is happening here?  Oh just possibly a domestic terrorist attack but no one seems to care.   I saw first responders running in the building and my daugher said.....Do we leave?  I said//No.  If something goes boom...we are out of the way but people will need help.  i caught myself saying that as calm as I need to by some milk.  

    Your diary is timely for me tonight because what I saw told me people are becoming conditioned for terror.  The danger inside the building was not as dangerous for them as the problem they were trying to solve about their income...or disability or whatever ....I saw it ...It bothered me but even though I was willing to help if need be.....I was also de sensitized.  I should have been really concerned.  I wasn't.

    here is the story

    We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

    by Vetwife on Thu Sep 19, 2013 at 05:31:39 PM PDT

  •  One of your best, Ray. Thanks. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ladybug53, DeadHead, Hillbilly Dem

    This post is thoughtful and insightful. I have turned off many of the things that make me unhappy & angry, especially my TV.

    None of us can make all of our stress go away but we can keep out the aggravation perpetuated by the media.

    look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

    by FishOutofWater on Thu Sep 19, 2013 at 06:13:27 PM PDT

    •  Thank you. I think you are doing the right thing (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ladybug53, DeadHead, Hillbilly Dem

      by turning off the TV, especially the news.  Watching too much TV is truly one of the most harmful things we can do to ourselves.

      I still watch a few HBO programs once in a while, but as time goes by I'm watching less and less TV.  I completely stopped watching all the corporate news channels as I think they are the most propagandist and damaging to our cognition.

      I've been watching Democracy Now! once in a while and find it to be a good news source.

  •  This is one of (0+ / 0-)

    the best diaries I have read on dKos in a very long time. This lack of empathy problem has been building for a long time and was accelerated by Reagan and taken to a whole new level under Clinton and Obama. I think part of the problem is socio economic but a larger part is the make up of the current Republican Party. Not the whole party because the vast majority of republicans I know are very empathetic. My brother is a very religious man with more empathy than most people I know yet he is a complete wingnut.

    It is only when I give him examples of what the GOP policies do to the people that he feels for that he starts to understand. He is in his car all day long so talk radio filters his thoughts and they hide their lack of empathy well. So when he sees things like the welfare cuts he sees them as stopping people who don't deserve it from getting it. I have to tell him about all of the people who are desperate for a job, who have children like his who are starving for him to understand the total ramifications of what the GOP is doing.

    This was a great diary Ray. Like I said, one of the best I have read in a long time. I'd love to see you edit out that last block quote because anyone that does complain about this one will look bad enough without it. I can't imagine why anyone would do anything other than praise this effort.

    Thanks for this. It was a great way to start my day.

    Most of the people taking a hard line against us are firmly convinced that they are the last defenders of civilization... The last stronghold of mother, God, home and apple pie and they're full of shit! David Crosby, Journey Thru the Past.

    by Mike S on Fri Sep 20, 2013 at 08:18:44 AM PDT

  •  "...then you die." (0+ / 0-)

    "Politeness is wasted on the dishonest, who will always take advantage of any well-intended concession." - Barrett Brown

    by 3rdOption on Fri Sep 20, 2013 at 04:48:45 PM PDT

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