Sunday, July 24, 2011

Rebuild the dream: get together and DO something

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Last weekend I attended a Rebuild the Dream housemeeting. Twenty-one neighbors sat around listening to one another and discussing what the heck has gone wrong with our country when Wall Street can implode and put so many out of work with no penalties and no end in sight. It's hard to see that government is even trying.

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We were asked to read lists of what others had said were important problems and prioritize what we thought should be worked on. We knew the answer must start with decent jobs for everyone who wants one. We need to fix the tax system: make the people who have a lot of money pay their share toward the well-being of the whole country. And rebuilding is going to require ending endless dumb wars too.

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It all looks like a big job. Many people sounded tired and others confused. I was reminded of a comment I'd run across in a similar discussion, that one online, last week. There are good reasons why we haven't hoisted our rulers on pitchforks.

I think the reason ... many of the unemployed appear so composed is the innate sense of threat that looms so large daily; a survival response. Ideally it would be the most appropriate time to mobilize as feelings are strong but in reality, that is not how it plays out. We are all privately unraveling and there is little energy for doing anything but putting out the fires at our feet and trying to deal with the wolf at our door.

To be unemployed right now is to find oneself in a war zone of complexity and threat in unknown terrain. Like in any war, protest is a luxury left to those who are not in the trenches.

If that writer is correct, and I think she is, those of us who have jobs have a lot of work to do for the good of all. Recovering the mere concept of "the good of all" would be a smart place to start.

Rebuild the Dream is trying to bring people together to overcome these kind of feelings of helplessness. I don't know whether this particular organizing effort will work. The project certainly does has all the right endorsers as you can see on their web site.

I do know that the idea is right: this country is in trouble. Organized, demanding people need to come together to put it right. So far, a Democratic President hasn't helped much, while crazy Republicans work daily to make things worse. This job relies on the people.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Isn't this more of "middle class, middle aged and middle brow" Mainline Protestant nonsense?
Frankly, most of your churches will be gone by 2040. Why anyone would want to listen to a group which can't even get its own kids and young people to attend is beyond me.

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