Thursday, December 02, 2010

A Little Thought Experiment

Let's imagine for a second the Obama is the person people thought they were voting for: a stealth progressive, a grassroots community organizer type, a pro the-little-people democrat, the anti-war candidate.

We'd still have:

Health care reform that mostly benefits the insurance companies.
A mortgage crisis with nothing being done to help the homeowners.
A 24% disemployment rate (9 percent counted, 18 percent actual, the rest are underemployed and I think that number is low)
2 wars with more wars brewing
No extension of unemployment benefits
Skyrocketing wealth disparity
A federal freeze on spending and COLAs for federal employees.
TSA getting grabby and the continued erosion of the bill of rights.

So even with a Democratic House, Senate and presidency, democratic platforms can't be enacted. That is one seriously broken system. The representational part of representational democracy is broken.

That's what I mean when I say that voting doesn't make a damn bit of difference, the powers that be simply won't let us get what we voted for if it's not in their best interest. I don't know if this is new, or worse than it was before, but it's bad.

How we fix that is a big scary question, one too big for me or you to figure out by ourselves. But I know one thing, you never ever get what you want if you don't ask for it (or in this case, demand it). I find it a far better use of my time thinking about the kind of world I want the Kid to live in. It's what gives me hope, the idea that things have not always been this way, and they won't always be this way.

100 years ago, 40 hour work weeks and women's suffrage were pipe dreams. 60 years ago, trips to the moon were impossible. So perhaps it's wistful daydreaming. Perhaps I have replaced a belief in god with baseless optimism. Perhaps I am just audaciously hopeful. But here's a few things that I want in a better world:

20 hour work weeks. I know! Shock, awe, how could we possibly live with 20 hour work weeks? But think about all the downsizing, the "increases in productivity" which are just code words for "we make one person do the job of 2 or more". We would solve unemployment in a heartbeat. If working 20 hours a week means you can afford the basics like food, housing, medical and education, then the rest of your time is yours to do with as you please. Want to make more money and buy shiny toys- congrats, you now have the time to do that. Want to spend time puttering around making music or art or baking pies. Do that. Want to raise your kids instead of sending them to 8 or 10 hours a day of daycare, do that. It would make it easier for PWD to work if endurance is one of their problems. (still have to work on that tricky ableism thing, I know the hours are not the only thing causing high unemployment rates among PWD). It would make being a poor student who has to work full time possible, because full time would now be as many hours as you'd spend in a work study job (well slightly more, but you get the drift). Boomers who don't have enough money to retire? Well now you can work half time while opening up a position for someone else.

A serious commitment to body autonomy. I am just so freaking tired of it being every bodies business what someone else does with their own body. I don't fucking care what you put into it (food, drugs, medicine, penises, babies, etc) or take out of it or who you do those things with as long as you're all adults with informed consent.

And since California's prison situation has been in the news lately (let's just say that all those non-violent drug offenders fall under RQ's body autonomy dream) how about an end to the prison industrial complex. My ultimate dream world involves a world without prisons. I'd much prefer a society of choice, you choose not to follow the rules then go live elsewhere. I don't care where, but not here. Sure there end up being whole societies made up of rapey mcrapersons, but since they'd be hard pressed to get women to stay it might die out pretty quick. But since exile is only possible now for people who kill in the 10s or 100s of thousands, how about we make the whole penal system a bit less racist, classist, and horrible all around.

And while I'm on the whole society of choice thing, no more nationalist bullshit. Pick where you want to live, anywhere in the world. Agree to to follow that society's rules and your in. No "illegals", no scary border guards. No handwringing about the immigration problem. We like to think that America is all about freedom, but most of us never got to choose the society we live in. We can choose 100 types of breakfast cereal, but not our social identity. That's not really freedom.

And while we're dreaming, and end to the fucking kyriarchy. No more isms. No more excuses for making one person worth less than another.

What do you want? You'll never get it unless you ask, so ask away.

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