Tuesday, June 16, 2009

This American Life

I'm sure by now you've realized that I'm a big loser. I read ridiculous periodicals and once asked my sister how could we possibly function without television. I mean how would we hear the news? What if something huge happened? As it turned out the day our cable went out was the day of the Okalahoma City bombing.

So getting back to my loser status. I read Foreign Affairs on regular basis. for the past 10 years. And I keep them in case I need to reference an article. Which I do often while relaxing after work.

As the world is changing so is how I get my news. I am now obessesed with free podcasts. I listed to 7 on a regular basis. The Soup Video Podcast. Savage Love. Relaxation for Sleeping (which I use in my yoga playlists and for sleeping). Business Week CEO Guide. Stuff You Missed in History Class. This American Life. Planet Money.

This American Life is fucking amazing. Their coverage of the financial crisis should get them a Pulitzer. It's been the most incredible and most shocking source of knowledge about what all those talking heads that don't really give a shit about us normal people are actually saying in their contrived and overworked statements. Please please please listen to some of the episodes. I listen to podcasts on my way home from work often and I will stop and sit down in a metro station or pause in the grocery store as I take in what they have uncovered or what they have translated into real life language.

When I was in college the privitaizing of social security debate was big in the news. I kept having debates with people who said tough shit if people don't know how to invest smartly. I've learned in some part through listening to these This American Life podcasts why this option disgusted me so much but was unable to articulate besides the one truth that if you don't grow up in privedlge, economic, race or otherwise, you don't actually have fair shot of investing smartly as those that do. The system is built to provide greater advantage to some. If you were not part of creating this system or keeping the system afloat, you have a very small chance of competing. I believe that if forced to defend your family and community you are capable of changing everything. You are capable of stopping the largest most corrupt pollutor, you are capable of changing laws, you are capable of changing who you are as a person and of changing the world as you know it. I believe that more than any other belief I've developed in my 29 years.

I also believe that people are more powerful than they think or trust themselves to be, but listening to the congressional hearing where the head of the Office of Thrift Supervision say yes it was my responsibility to regulate dividend trading for AIG and we made a mistake, made me understand that our system is not built for regular people to understand what is going on or how to play or how to inform themselves so that they can have an even playing field. It is built to have a few people win. all the time. at everything they do.

I got this email from President Obama today. I am still on the mailing list from when I donated during the election and I often get organizing emails from different people working in the Organizing for America project of the DNC. I got this email today that was pretty fucking good. It went into why I voted for him. In the subject line is "This is Why". Here is the letter.

Renee --

Last year, millions of Americans came together for a great purpose.

Folks like you assembled a grassroots movement that shocked the political establishment and changed the course of our nation. When Washington insiders counted us out, we put it all on the line and changed our democracy from the bottom up. But that's not why we did it.

The pundits told us it was impossible -- that the donations working people could afford and the hours volunteers could give would never loosen the vise grip of big money and powerful special interests. We proved them wrong. But as important as that was, that's not why we did it.

Today, spiraling health care costs are pushing our families and businesses to the brink of ruin, while millions of Americans go without the care they desperately need. Fixing this broken system will be enormously difficult. But we can succeed. The chance to make fundamental change like this in people's daily lives -- that is why we did it.

The campaign to pass real health care reform in 2009 is the biggest test of our movement since the election. Once again, victory is far from certain. Our opposition will be fierce, and they have been down this road before. To prevail, we must once more build a coast-to-coast operation ready to knock on doors, deploy volunteers, get out the facts, and show the world how real change happens in America.

And just like before, I cannot do it without your support.

So I'm asking you to remember all that you gave over the last two years to get us here -- all the time, resources, and faith you invested as a down payment to earn us our place at this crossroads in history. All that you've done has led up to this -- and whether or not our country takes the next crucial step depends on what you do right now.

Please donate whatever you can afford to support the campaign for real health care reform in 2009.

It doesn't matter how much you can give, as long as you give what you can. Millions of families on the brink are counting on us to do just that. I know we can deliver.

Thank you, so much, for getting us this far. And thank you for standing up once again to take us the rest of the way.

Sincerely,

President Barack Obama

It pretty genius actually. It pulls all the right cords. I had drinks with some urban economic justice activists in Miami not too long ago and one said when over 50% of the people in your high school don't graduate, it's not them, its the system. My graduating senior class was 60% smaller than my freshman year class, over half of that dropped out senior year alone. My school was rated an F several years in a row and consisted of mostly immigrant Brazilians, Haitians, and African Americans and located in one of the county's poorest neighborhoods very close to a municiple incinerator. This no different than AIG financial products getting an AAA (zero risk) rating when it was on the verge of collapse and a health care system where 1 in 10 children have no insurance.

It's the system.

And another powerful thing I've learned in my short 29 years: every single one of us working in concert has the power to change it.

Renee

1 comment:

jpck said...

I f*ing love public radio, NPR. I was just telling JP last night that if I die, I would like him to make a contribution to Public Radio in my name.