Democracy Derailed by Greed Virus

Photo: Google
Photo: Google Images

I rarely weep with strangers I meet on the street. Maybe it was the beautiful summer evening. Or that I was returning from a lovely evening with beloved friends. Or that we shared our despair at how quickly and completely the greed virus has derailed our great democracy.

The greed virus feels like the political equivalent of  e-bola that causes internal organs to bleed. Our country is bleeding internally, that’s for sure. It seems that everyone is either hanging on by a thread or watching friends and family hang on.

J was propelling her wheel chair with her arms so I asked if she needed to be wheeled anywhere. No, she was just heading for the Jewel a couple of blocks away.

She is due for a hip replacement and I made a sick joke praising our generous health care system. Of course I explained that my passion to promote affordable housing by facilitating #housingmixers, where people consider a range of housing options with others navigating the rocky straits of finding affordable housing. Each of us shuddered at the thought of living with a bunch of seniors endlessly discussing their health problems.

Robert Putnam’s New York Times op-ed about Port Clinton, Ohio tells a poignant story about his home town that was a great place to grow up, with little difference between rich kids and poor kids. “Half-century later, wealthy kids park BMW convertibles in the Port Clinton High School lot next to decrepit “junkers” in which homeless classmates live.”

The article illustrated how vulnerable we are without sturdy social support structures. The only way to get through life in general, but this mine field in particular, is with people that you know, trust and can rely on when the chips are down. If your family cannot offer you the steadfast support that we all need, it is possible to create a “family of choice” to fill in the gaps in a healthy way, without making you crazy, enabling or impinging on your boundaries.

I remind myself that this nightmare won’t last forever; the fever will break and the political pendulum will swing back. It can’t swing soon enough for those who will die from despair, from our sick food policy and myriad other injustices. Obamacare is a glimmer of light.

We congratulated ourselves after Watergate for having survived a constitutional crisis. Democracy worked! This Constitutional crisis–an undeclared war–is far worse, more insidious and life threatening for many. Generations to come will study this period with amazement.

Healthy democracy requires vigilance and every couple of hundred years we need to be reminded of that. The worst is not over. You too may find yourself weeping with strangers on the street.

2 thoughts on “Democracy Derailed by Greed Virus

  1. Excellent piece, Terry!
    If money is the message, democracy is not even on the radar screen. I am unsatisfied by the Democrat appeals for donations to fight the Republican appeals for donations. As long as the battle is about money, the 99% of us will lose every time. Perhaps the only thing the 99% had is the streets. And the police have pretty much taken those away from us. The war on drugs has created an infrastructure that is being readily converted to political oppression – and elimination of democracy, at least for the 99%.

    The Democrats got smart and went with big money, so we got Clinton and Obama, but still no democracy; still no honorable treatment for veterans or non-veterans or the disabled or the elders; still no American Dream. As long as money is the surrogate with which political battles are fought, I don’t think we are a democracy, just an oligarchy.

  2. Thanks, Earon. I truly believe that when the smoke clears, our attitude about money will be turned on its head and we will begin to value life and nature in a different way. It is axiomatic that what we value the most – people, relationships, unpolluted nature, peace and quiet – cannot be measured in monetary terms.

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