Trying to do my best not to think about political things. It is an illusory state of mind that makes you think you have some control over your world, when you really do not. Your power to effect any sort of change in the process is severely limited. You are probably more likely to alter the outcome of a football game by buying a ticket and cheering for your team than you are by donating to your favorite candidate, voting for them, and liking their posts on social media. Even phone banking, block-walking, yard signs, bumper stickers, etc. don’t move the needle much at all.
The people who turned out to vote for Obama in my state in 2008, if they bothered to vote in mid-term elections, might actually turn my state blue. It probably wouldn’t happen the first time they all voted, but if enough people saw that this state isn’t nearly red as people think, they could possibly make a difference. The problem, of course, is that most of these people just want to be part of some short-term, exciting thing that looks and feels like a good, winning time. Many of them are just as likely to vote for Trump, or a Green Party candidate. People want change, but they don’t want to work for it that hard. And, if you are one person working very hard while many others eat, drink and party their way through life, you become just as disillusioned, maybe even more so, about change ever happening.
Politics as it pertains to elected officials is mostly a waste of time. We all know that most politicians do not listen to us–our letters to them get us back a boiler plate response that is vaguely related to what we were hoping to communicate. However, what we don’t know is that we could all band together locally in any number of ways and live our lives differently than the way the system wants us to. We could decide to share our living spaces and tools and food and cars with each other without waiting around for someone to tell us to. Some people do, but they are generally outliers who thrive on creating novel living situations for themselves. People were all excited about the Sharing Economy a few years ago, and companies like Uber were mentioned in the same breath. Uber doesn’t, nor has it ever, looked to be a company that takes care of its drivers. A rather traditional businessman is making a lot of money off of a non-traditional model, on the backs of drivers who struggle to make even a minimum wage at what they are doing, all expenses in. It doesn’t look like sharing.
I say, there doesn’t have to be (and maybe there shouldn’t be) an app for whatever you are trying to do. Using technology when and where you need to is one thing, but once someone turns it into a business model, they have an interest in putting profit above all else. Look at Whole Foods. It started with a couple of Austin hippies, and ended up being an overpriced monolith with sham benefits votes for its employees.
I am not really in favor of Socialism or Unions, either. I think that these too often end up creating business-like entities whose main purpose becomes self-perpetuation vs. increasing rights and benefits for workers. The system needs an entirely new approach of instructing people how to come together when they aren’t working for oppressive employers to become self sustaining in a way that doesn’t see a leader or charismatic personality rise up and become rich off of their backs.
In short, instead of trying to change the current system, which is a complete mess, we should be relying on our remaining freedoms to carve out ways of being that are utterly foreign to your average capitalism-loving worker schlubs but do not end up being dystopic communes or bands of workers crying for socialism–and, as stated above, they don’t ever see themselves become like Uber or Whole Foods, just other businesses with greedy owners that talk as if they give a shit about the people who work for them.