Someone very close to me was “downsized” out of his executive job when he reached the age of 55 – that is, at the point where he became rather expensive to insure and would soon be eligible to participate in a lucrative retirement plan. The loss was devastating to both his household budget and his self-esteem. But, after recovering from the emotional shock, he realized that he could free himself from the chains that had made him a slave to our economy. Suddenly, he had more time to pursue his hobby – putting his considerable intelligence to work trying to unravel the mysteries of the universe – and he found far greater pleasure in this creative intellectual pursuit than he’d once found in buying the latest electronics and luxury cars. He discovered that his life was more satisfying when he quit the rat race. He discovered a sustainable life that was no longer dependent on the Gross Domestic Product.
Today I talk to people everywhere who are depressed, ill, medicated for anxiety and stumbling around like zombies because they are suffering financial distress and job losses. They worked hard all their lives doing what they were told was the right thing, then these ivory tower thugs like Goldman Sachs, “doing God’s work,” gutted their savings and the foundations of their lives.
The voters who put Obama into office represent youth, diverse races and ages, the Cultural Creatives and Generation Jones. Young people put him in office because he epitomizes our goals and those we share with our kids. This is so our chance to create our world.
Mr. Obama, congratulations on your ascendancy to the presidency and for winning the Nobel Peace Prize. Thank you for extending yourself and your family to try to put our nation back on a positive track after a decade of debauchery that sucked dry our national and personal treasuries and funneled nearly all of our resources into the hands and pockets of friends of an administration which did not have the interests of the nation in mind. The people have been trod upon, everything we’ve worked for in good faith stolen; our lives and our hopes for the future ravaged. We voted you into office because you offered us hope for change. We helped fulfill your dreams. Now is the time to give those dreams back to us.
It’s clear that your initiatives are facing extreme challenges from the business interests that don’t want to let go their profits gained from abusing our environment and by manipulating our worker/consumer orientation. But we look to you, sir, to dissolve the hold that these businesses have over our national economy; to put an end to the stranglehold that big business has over Congress through high-paid lobbyists who influence our laws and legislation with money. We are ready to walk the high road that you hiked into office – we are ready to demand the high road from the businesses we work for and serve with our purchases. We are ready to support a sustainable future by buying from and expecting high quality products that don’t sacrifice our health and safety in the name of profits. Let us create a sustainable economy that is not dependent on buying more stuff, but on supporting sustainable energy and industries.
Let’s follow interesting advice I read a few months ago – give every American a substantial credit to pay off their mortgage and/or debts and free themselves from these chains of survival which have become such heavy burdens. Give the money to the people instead of to the corporate bankers who continue to rob us with decreasing credit lines and increasing interest. Give us the chance to reshape our lives into more meaningful experiences that are not so fraught with the struggle to survive.
Bring our soldiers home. Protect our country instead of terrorizing others. We don’t need Middle Eastern oil – let’s invest in renewable wind and solar here in America. Make it clear that terrorists cannot defile our soil, but stop wasting our youth in futile efforts to fight them abroad.
We can have the change you dreamed of with us, Mr. President. Now is our time. Demand the high road from everyone – man, woman, child, agency and business.
Give the bailout dollars to us all – instead of sending billions to the bankers who bilked us, give us the cash to pay off our escalating debts and resettle our homes and businesses. I’m not talking about a $250 payment to get us through the grocery this month, and I don’t want increased welfare benefits and unemployment payments. Instead of bailing out the banks, bail us – all of us – out with healthy checks that can put us back on our feet. Close down the welfare agencies that are snaking profits to private enterprises, and offer those subsidies to farmers so the cost of food will drop for everyone, not just the destitute. Charge agency staff with developing local community food systems, bartering systems, zero waste systems; strengthen the local economies for all citizens instead of passing handouts to the very poor. Put people to work creating a sustainable future, sustainable power, health care, water and sustainable transportation. Relinquish privatization and make all of these citizen needs non-profit: health care, energy, clean water and scientific research.
Let’s eliminate toxic chemicals and manufacturing processes – not incrementally, but immediately. Don’t let justice be tied up in regulation and litigation. Just shut them down. Same with co2 and health care legislation. Make good at Copenhagen to put an end to destructive pollution.
Make the thieves who gutted the coffers of this nation pay for their crimes and make restitution to the public.
End your first year with a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Kwanza, whatever other holidays we celebrate with gifts and joy. Give this nation back to the people. Let 2010 be a truly Happy New Year for America and the world.
–Trish Riley is editor and publisher of GoGreenNation.org, an award-winning environmental/investigative journalist and the author of The Complete Idiot’s Guides to Green Living and Greening Your Business (2007 and 2009, Penguin).