Thursday, April 24, 2014

What can I do? What can you do?

Somehow I keep wanting to make today Friday, and I think maybe it's because it has been a discouraging week. Karl Rove raised a ton of money to defeat liberals, the Supreme Court shot down affirmative action, Paul Ryan proposes a budget that will obliterate the middle class, and authors are suing book reviewers for negative reviews. Why is there such acrimony in our country? I posted earlier that the two rival factions in Palestinian government had come together to form a unity government. A friend suggested pressure from Israel forced that move, and she was right. Somewhere I read an article that said a fairly credible analysis claimed that the U.S. is no longer a democracy--it's an oligarchy, a country ruled by the wealthy. Well, if corporations are people and the courts keep ruling in favor of them, that's probably already true or soon will be.
Today I read an article about the 1914 Ludlow Massacre in which the Colorado National Guard fired on a tent camp of striking miners and their families, killing some two dozen, including many women and children. It seems the miners were fighting for the same rights and working conditions that are being rolled back today.
It's not only people--there is a move afoot to allow ranchers, etc., to hunt wolves to extinction. Do these people not know the laws of nature and how important each link in the chain is to the world? Perhaps the wolf will be like the buffalo--when we kill almost all of them (except maybe those in zoos), then we'll frantically be trying to bring them back as a species. It seems to me that so many people don't see beyond the present moment and their comfort and  pocketbooks. I can't believe that ranchers can't find a way to protect their herds from wolves, but as my brother told me about feral hogs--maybe I don't understand the proportion of the problem. (I have no problem with killing feral hogs and I think they're far from being endangered--people may be in more danger from them.)
It seems strange to me that in the midst of all this chaos, for that's what it must be called, most of us go peacefully on with our daily lives. Sure, my grocery and gas bills grow at a rate faster than my income, and I'm tightening my belt a little. But I still live the good life of the middle class--entertaining when I want to, eating in restaurants when the fancy strikes me, getting good medical care. I may skimp on clothes a bit but I can always buy that new pair of pants or shoes when I really want.
Sometimes I feel I should be giving more to charity, and I do give frequently to a few causes--my church, animal protection groups, Democratic candidates--but I am besieged with so many requests, that it boggles my mind.
Which leaves me with that eternal question--beyond voting, what can I, a retired woman on a fixed income, do to help save the world? Sometimes I feel helpless, but other times I think of people who have made a difference single-handedly, through persistence, and I think I'm a wimp. Guilt is not a good feeling.

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