One of the most pervasive problems facing the United States and the world today is economic imbalance. While most of us have been doing our jobs, contributing to our communities, working toward and hoping for a brighter future, a more enjoyable lifestyle for ourselves and our families, there has been a minority at work with a different idea. It is evident that this minority does not view this world as our home, they view it as their playground. Like children playing a game of Monopoly, they have been busy creating systems with which to channel most of the world’s financial resources into their bank accounts. Vast amounts of money, much of it hidden from public view. We can hardly imagine.
It’s not that we, the general public, have been totally in the dark while this has been going on. Quite the contrary. The impression I get is that the whole concept of acquiring vast, inordinate wealth has been a secret dream for many, if not most, people. But the action of acquiring great amounts of wealth does not provide the services, the infrastructure, the food and other products that we need as a species to live. Where would we be if that were the sole goal of the people of the world?
The acquisition of great wealth receives massive amounts of positive PR from outlets using about every form of media that exists. Movies, television, newspapers, magazines. Daily we are exposed to reports and articles of who has made the latest “killing” in the business, sports, and entertainment worlds. And we have been holding these people up as examples of unquestionable success. Then we return to our day to day lives working more hours for less while around us we can see the people, young and old, becoming increasingly disenfranchised. We calculate and wonder how we’re going to make the paycheck stretch from month to month. If we’re in the fortunate numbers who have a retirement account we watch it warily, helplessly, trying not to feel our anxiety around whether another major banking and/or investment scam is going to drain it.
And then over a beer with friends you may well hear the people at the table next to you voicing their admiration of the latest person or group to have made the most recent financial killing. Then we go back to doing our part; our part is to do the dying. We’re the ones being killed. Increasingly “We the People” are looking like a clueless bunch of delusionals that are spending most of our time working to support a system that is not conducive to our health. There has never been a time in history when we, the general population, have needed to grasp the transcendental truth within the saying; “United we stand, divided we fall.” We need to put the “United” back in “United States”.
The ripples from this imbalance, which creates people who have and those who have not, are showing up in increasingly dysfunctional, imbalanced attitudes and behavior within every level of our culture. Just one way this imbalance manifests itself is in a disdain and/or hatred for authority. Those in authority are increasingly seen as representing and acting unilaterally on behalf of the “haves”, whether it is true or not. For instance in early March a homeless man was shot in Los Angeles, CA. A video of the event has gone viral and, as is shown in the video, the police, symbols of authority, of the system, are immediately seen as evil killers by bystanders. They are judged before the whole story is known by anyone except possibly by those immediately involved. Meanwhile, in Fulton County, Georgia, a police officer responding to a call regarding someone shooting in a neighborhood was ambushed and killed. The police officer was just doing the most admirable part of his job, protecting the public. Unless you happened to dig through the news from that day you probably don’t know this event took place. There is no national outrage in response to this killing.
This is not to say that abuse of power by the police doesn’t exist. It is to say that the knee-jerk response these days is to assume the police are acting wrongfully, brutally. At least that is the picture being painted by the media. It seems to me that the general population is responding toward the police with all the pent-up frustration they feel toward an unresponsive, unsupportive “system” at large.
Whether our current system’s structure is working for all of us or not (and it isn’t), the fact is unless we want to return to the dark ages, we need a social system. We need to put our hearts and minds into it and work to fix the one we’ve got! Quite possibly one of the biggest secrets of our time is that the general population within the U.S. (or any country) is a powerful force. We can get things done if we’re not too busy fighting among ourselves over our relatively petty differences. And if the media isn’t deliberately working to keep us at each other’s throats they could hardly do a better job of it if they were!
The media responses seem to either feed the growing dissatisfaction and schisms within our communities or ignore the events. Speaking out about the contributory, if not causative, context of imbalance and what positive steps can be taken to correct the situation is not happening nearly as much as we need it to happen.
The mindset of “us” against “them” is like a virus destroying our culture and, if we buy into it, it will also destroy us as individuals. It is beliefs, values and their resultant behaviors we need to be working to see brought into more viable parameters. We need this if we want to ever have vital, harmonious communities populated by vital people who are enjoying their lives. We need to bring a more economically balanced reality into existence. Intemperate profiteering within investment capitalism is undoubtedly one of the biggest obstacles to that taking place. Like it or not, unless we are successfully regulating ourselves we need governmental regulations to correct this imbalance. Self regulation seems to be a joke among those who have adopted the value that “greed is good”.
WE need this earth to be a healthy, healthful place for ALL of US to live and experience life. When the context of our lives is filled with anxiety, greed, envy, fear, want, adversarial relationships, it leads us to shut down aspects of our being, of our brain, and to narrow our perceptions and experiences. In other words to be less than we are capable of being. Competition is very unrealistically overvalued as a positive behavior and not recognized enough for the lessening of people and cultures that can result from it. A recognition of our mutuality and practices which honor that mutuality are much needed to set things on a road to recovery.