Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A new day???

Many hope for change with the election of Barack Obama. I know I certainly do, or maybe it would be better to say that I am hopeful that I can have hope. I am simply losing faith in the people of this country to do anything that isn't in their own best interest (and as the most powerful country in the world, we certainly have the responsibility to think of more than just ourselves). Here's why...

I work two jobs- one full time with health coverage, albeit Kaiser (which is fine as long as I am not sick), another part time job that gives me as many hours as I can manage. But with the price of food, gas, meds, etc. LIVING basically, I don't have the money to go to the dentist. My teeth are cracked and one is falling apart. Another is probably abscessing but the only option is to have it pulled- there is no way I can afford a root canal or a replacement. Jobs are getting harder to find so just finding a new job sounds good, isn't necessarily going to happen (especially since I have been actively looking for many moons already). And frankly I like this job but it does not seem reasonable to me that DPS expects professional work when they are paying hourly wages. (Teachers who do the SAME job I am make more than twice I do-- but they are eliminating teachers from this position in order to bring in cheaper librarians-- like me! And teachers are underpaid anyway!!!).

A small used book store down on Broadway owned by a friend is struggling for survival. Advertising, a near necessity when you compete with Amazon and Barnes and Noble, is out of the question and and rents are high-- his business is clearly struggling. He is thin and haggard with worry. He works another job to make a living and to keep the bookstore open.

Ben Franklin's, a family owned dime store in "Littletown" Kansas, went out of business because Walmart moved into the town fifteen minutes away: close enough to drive the higher priced family owned store out of business. (How does an independent businessman compete with a business that can mandate it's own price from the vendors -even big ones like Rubbermaid!- and buy cheaply made toys from their subcontracted toy-makers in third world countries?)

Rikki Ducornet has a new book out which I am anxiously awaiting. She is an amazing writer who incorporates metaphor and symbolism into her writing with a deftness that is breathtaking. Her talent looms like the sun over the literary world. Her newest book is not available at Barnes and Noble- nor for that matter are any of her other books. She is not a best seller-- just a great writer. Her books have to be specially ordered and this new one is being released in paperback. You can find some of her older books in the used bookstore on Broadway. No promotion, no books on hand in the large bookstores-- not likely to get enough sales to pay for the daVincian quality of her work.

Subcontracting: the illusion of independent, individually owned business. In truth it is a way for large corporations to contract a job, bid/charge for it, then hand it over to a smaller business for a cheaper price. Those small businesses are not able to offer healthcare or benefits to their workers because they are barely able to stay afloat the way it is. It's an easy way for corporations to get out from under government regulations on employees and to save on employment costs. And in too many cases, they use every means they can to charge the subcontractors so they aren't even paying the price agreed upon before the job began. (Barnes and Noble uses such subcontractors to clean the stores. Do they get the same healthcare coverage the managers and booksellers do?)

Borders is not doing well and may soon be out of business. For some reason BnN sees this as a triumph. The Walmart mentality seems to be spreading-- it's not good enough to make money anymore-- you have to corner the market and drive the competition out of business. Meanwhile, the only product you order is what you can sell cheaply and plenty of. . . more and more dreck.

Newspapers/TV news/Major internet providers offer almost all the same news. No coincidence-- they're owned by corporations that are happy to keep us preoccupied with gossip about movie stars, grizzly murders, terrorism. Their product? Fear in a box. The FEW independently owned operations are often forced then to compete in the same marketplace. Self-imposed censorship.

We need a new paradigm! We need to rethink the way we do things-- this corporate, capitalistic state that feeds our cravings but never provides nutrients...

Change? I hope it's coming... I sincerely hope it's coming.

I think I need another moment of zen...

"Speak not of guilt, speak not of responsibility. When the Regiment of the Senses parades by, with music, and with banners; when the senses shiver and shudder, it is only a fool and and an irreverent person that will keep his distance, who will not embrace the good cause, marching towards the conquest of pleasures and passions." ~~ C.P. Cavafy


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