I recently set up a facebook page for a little project. Having read enough self help books to get the message that its all about what you focus on, I thought it was time to set some goals. I have some modest personal goals, but the experts seem to agree that you shouldn’t limit yourself, so my big goal is to save the world. Yes, that’s right, save the freakin’ world.
Years ago I used to have lunch with a co-worker and we seemed to be able to come up with a solution to just about any global crisis in the 20 minutes we took to eat. We had great ideas, but we didn’t have any power or influence, and there was no internet back then. I don’t think the average person watching funny cat videos really understands the game-changing potential of social media. North Americans are a really apathetic bunch, for whom the Arab Spring was a blip on the evening news, indistinguishable from the mindless babble about the idiocy in Washington. The mainstream media has become hopelessly inept at informing people about things that really matter, and people seem rather slow to catch on to ways to find credible information online beyond wikipedia. However, that trend is starting to shift and I think we’ll reach a tipping point in the near future, when people wake up from this trance.
When that happens, and it will, they might want to make a few changes. Such as, for starters: demanding clean energy and rejecting dirty fuels from tar sands and fracking. demanding protection for our water suppies, reclaiming the food supply from Big Ag, , enforcing sensible rules to keep greedy bankers from using our pension funds as casino chips, getting corporate money out of the political process and rebuilding our trashed democracies, because corporations are NOT people – a person has a conscience, a corporation does not. Perhaps when they do the math on the military-industrial-prison-complex, voters will finally pull the plug on warmongering and eradicate hunger. Providing universal health care would cost only a tiny fraction of the U.S. defense budget if the profit margin was removed from that equation. When people come together and develop some momentum it will be easy to work for the emancipation of women and children worldwide, promoting social justice and stewardship, saving forests, oceans and all the crucial ecosystems that support life on this planet. Have I bitten off more than I can chew? Perhaps, but all these problems urgently need to be solved. If I hack away at it from my perch in Toronto and other people start challenging the status quo from where they are, eventually a dent will be made. Watch a few TED talks and you begin to believe that amazing things are possible. I’ve decided that its time to start tilting at windmills and the internet allows me to connect with other naive/crazy idealists who want to join in the same struggle.
Some of my best ideas come to me when I’m sleeping. The world would be a better place if more of us acted on our crazy dreams. This morning I started another facebook page to gather stories of the ordinary people you don’t hear about on the mainstream news. I want to collect the stories of people who used to be middle class, but had their lifestyles downsized. I want people to see the gaps between the least and most highly compensated employees in the companies they work for, and how much wider that gap is growing each year. I propose that we have a winter of discontent in 2014 in order to spread the news of how broken our ‘civilization’ is because if you don’t know its broken, you won’t fix it. The goal is not to focus on the negative, but to take a close enough look that the path ahead become obvious. Getting clear on the problems is the first step in their solutions. So lets gather the problems on “Connect ALL the DOTS” and then map out the future on “Solve All the Problems.”
Here’s an example of what I’m talking about. The mainstream media – owned almost completely by a handful of for-profit corporations – says there is nothing you can do to bridge the growing wage gap in giant corporations. What if the people decided that this obscene inequality had to end and demanded that their legislatures (municipal, state/province, national) enact laws mandating that the minimum wage in all companies operating in that jurisdiction was pegged to the highest salary? What if you took the CEO’s salary, including stock options, bonuses and other perks, and divided by, say 100, to set the minimum wage in that company? In this scenario if the CEO makes $200,000 per year all in, the lowest paid receptionist or janitor makes an hourly rate that would pay $20,000 per year based on a full-time work week. The result would be that full-time workers recieved a wage they could actually live on, even if they were working multiple part-time jobs. Can we gather support for this idea online? I’m not anti-capitalism, but I’m offended by the abuses of unrestrained greed. There used to be a very important concept in American political life called “checks and balances.” Its time to dig that idea out of the closet, dust it off and put it to work. Who’s with me?