Just a Few Thoughts About Life In America

Ok, I’ve been doing alot of thinking lately…

The Net Neutrality conference planted a few new seeds, but mostly it fertilized the seeds already planted in my mind. And the vines are becoming dark and twisted. I’m getting mad… mad as hell, to use an overused (but extremely accurate) phrase…

I recently commented about working harder to make less. And I’ve done even more thinking about that now. I’ve determined the following:

  • I work harder to make less (which means I spend less time with my family to give over more money in taxes to my government)
  • My food supply is not a quality food supply (and quality food supply is not readily available, although that is improving — if you have the money to pay for organic foods and the time to search out and use local growers)
  • The quality of my children’s education is abhorrent (this isn’t improving and I have little hope that it will)

So, I’m wondering if I wouldn’t be better off if I worked half as many hours, brought my children home and spent the other “half” of my time educating them. I wonder if teaching them to put food back, raise a garden and cook from scratch wouldn’t be a better use of my time and energy — and a better preparation for them. At the very least, I’d get to spend more time with my family. Quality time, working together, learning together, playing together.

I wonder if moving back to the farm is the answer. I’m wondering about alot of things and I’m trying to put it all together. And I’m redefining what I consider “poverty.” I talked with my father about this. We argued and “talked politics” for quite some time. Sometimes we agree, sometimes we violently disagree. Today, we did a little of both.

We talked about the corruption and the “buying” of our representatives by lobbyists and corporate interests. Pops says that the problem is that the voters don’t care. He says they don’t volunteer to get things that they want accomplished. He says that they don’t contribute to the campaigns of those representatives that they want in office. He says doing so would lower the impact and the appeal of accepting “payoffs” from industry.

I object! By this mind-set, we all have to “buy” representation. We all have to pay for our “public servants” and pay them more than the companies will pay (an impossibility). So they aren’t really public servants, under this model, IMHO — they are for sale to the highest bidder. We weren’t going to agree on that topic, so we moved on to other arguments…

He said that the quality of life, the improvement in the standard of living continued to go up in this country. I disagree. He said that things are so much better now than when he was growing up, that I just don’t understand. I disagree. I argued that back then, a man who walked away leaving a woman with children was shunned by his community. Then, when community mattered, there were built-in social stigmas attached to being a deadbeat dad, to being a man (much less a WOMAN) that walked away from children and a spouse. Back then when and where he was raised, there was someone that stayed at home, took care of the domestic front, raised a garden of quality food, clothed and educated the children at home in addition to what they received in the public schools. And the children attended schools where they actually learned.

He agreed.

I asked him what he considered to be “wealth” and what defined “poverty” — and he said that being above poverty meant food to eat and an education. It was that simple. I told him I agreed. And I told him that right now, my children’s quality of life, by his own definition, was less than his was growing up.

It’s less NOT because I don’t care… it’s less because the food that’s readily available in the stores is of poor quality and is loaded with chemicals that slowly poison the health of the individuals who consume it. I told him that the education he received in the public school system far outpaced the quality of the education his grand children were receiving at the hands of the public system.

Yes, maybe my children may have more clothes than he did (or than I did) growing up. They may have more “stuff” — but their quality of life has not dramatically improved. And I’m a parent that CARES about such things. I’m a parent that can oversee that. I work from home, so my children aren’t latch-key kids. They always have a parent here when they get home. They are not left to their own devices. Yes, I’m working, but if they need me, I’m here — and they check in with me the moment they arrive home. It’s nice.

There are so many parents today that work all day (or all night) at jobs that barely make ends meet and then collapse into bed, or into a “TV coma” when they arrive home too tired to do anything else. They don’t parent, they don’t educate, they don’t cook, they exist. And they teach, by example, that this is the way life is supposed to be. And they really are doing the best that they can.

We have single parent families in record numbers and the children (often in multiples) are depending on the resources of a single adult, and having to share the attention of that adult, the energy and the resources that one adult can bring in after a long, hard day. It’s not fair. It’s not right. And it’s NOT an improvement in the quality of life.

I complained about the disparity between the different socio-economic groups in our country, and how that divide continues to expand between the “haves” and the “have nots” in America.

My father says that people in this country WANT to be blind to the problems in this country. He quoted problems in inner cities and with Katrina. He says those people are of the “wrong” color or of the “wrong” economic or social status have always been screwed over, and we (as a society) have always overlooked it. He says we lock up those who object. He says the statistics show this to be true.

I find that mortifying. I also believe him to be correct, but it doesn’t make it ok with me. I think about something I’ve read recently about the difference in legislation for drug users — the “white” person’s cocaine has a different penalty than the “black” person’s cocaine in this country. Wow. We now discriminate on drug types based on who most often uses that particular form of the same drug? Wow. wow. *shaking head*

There is so much I want to do, so many things I need to learn about what’s happening and what I can do to help. And just getting informed about the issues takes weeks out of my life every year. I have so much to do, and I guess the reason that I was willing to go to Memphis during this very busy time of the year was to learn how to preserve the one venue that I believe cuts down the time required to be an active participant in my society. The Internet.

To my government, to big business, to anyone and everyone interested in slowing down, shunting, changing, monitoring, splitting and generally messing with my Internet, I have one thing to say: “Keep your DAMN hands off my Internet!”

Trying to preserve my personal rights is sucking up all my time. All my energy. I’m exhausted. And life in a “democracy” shouldn’t be this way. Should it?