photo taken at the FDR Memorial in Washington D.C., by Flickr user Damon Green
Let us be perfectly upfront here: this post is overtly political, and we don’t apologize for that fact. It is not Conservative or Liberal or even a Libertarian post. It is overtly political, but it calls out Democrats and Republicans alike. Yes, this post is political, but it is a “people post” because it is talking about our lives, our livelihood, and the American economy.
Okay, enough disclaimer.
Dan is reading a book called Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations. The book starts off with a story about a lost cellphone that was found, but the person who now had possession of it refused to return the phone to its rightful owner. When the owner made the request a second time, the phone-finder got nasty and her brother actually threatened the true owner. To make a long story short, the original owner’s friend set up a website and, before you knew it, the story had gone viral. The police who had refused to step in and help suddenly did — and the individual who had found the cellphone, along with her brother who had actually threatened the original owner — were force to return the phone. The story had gone viral, and those who had refused to respond found that now they had to do so. That is the power of social media; it leverages our voices, amplifies our concerns and creates a movement.
It makes sure that people who don’t really WANT to listen suddenly HAVE to.
Here’s why this is relevant at this moment.
There is an Op Ed in today’s New York Times by Thomas Friedman that you must read. If you are not a fan of the New York Times, don’t be put off because in this piece Friedman calls out everybody. Here’s how the piece begins …
Help Wanted: Leadership
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
Published: September 24, 2011
TO Barack Obama, John Boehner, Harry Reid, Mitch McConnell, Nancy Pelosi and Eric Cantor, I just have two words of advice: Herbert Hoover.
I know you’re all familiar with that name. Hoover lives in infamy in U.S. history for having been on duty when the Great Depression happened. You’re all courting a similar fate. Your collective behavior is setting all of you up to be known as our generation’s Herbert Hoovers — the leaders who were on duty when we entered our second great economic meltdown.
But unlike Hoover, who was just practicing the conventional economic wisdom of his day when we fell into the Depression, you have no excuses. We know what to do — a Grand Bargain: short-term stimulus to ease us through this deleveraging process, debt restructuring in the housing market and long-term budget-cutting to put our fiscal house in order. None of this is easy and the economy will not be fixed overnight; it will take years. But there is every chance it will get healed if our two parties construct the Grand Bargain we need.
But the more I read the papers the more I’m convinced that “we the people” are having an economic crisis and “you the politicians” are having an election — and there is frighteningly little overlap between the two …
Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, or None of the Above, you must read Friedman’s piece; his point is clear, and yet it is nothing we haven’t already figured out for ourselves! Our economy is on the brink, and the politicians are playing politics with our lives, our livelihood, and our country. Barack Obama is at fault, but so too is John Boehner. Harry Reid is responsible, but Mitch McConnell is also. Nancy Pelosi is far from blameless, but so is Eric Cantor … and none of them seem to be paying attention.
The country is on the brink. And social media may be just what the doctor ordered.
We each read Friedman’s piece, and it made us wonder that if a tech-based outcry can get a lost phone returned, then maybe, just maybe, it can become a wakeup call to the people who are in a position to actually pull us back from the edge. If you agree that our country is in danger and that something must be done to get the politicians’ attention, then let’s start a movement.
Here’s the first step.
2. Email Friedman’s OpEd piece to five friends along with a link to this post.
3. Email the Friedman’s OpEd piece to all of the politicians Friedman mentions with the subject “Read This. Enough is enough. Fix this.”
Here are the email addresses (or the contact pages if direct addresses are not available):
Our country is broken. You know it and we know it. Democrats blame the Republicans, Republicans blame Democrats, Tea Party folks blame Democrats and Republicans …
There is plenty of finger-pointing going on these days, but precious little concerted effort to actually DO SOMETHING. And THAT is what is needed. We are on the edge. That is clear. But for some reason so many politicians seem willing to destroy the country — or at least let it continue to flounder — in order to accomplish their short-term political goals. They are playing politics with our lives and that has to stop. NOW!
ENOUGH petty squabbles. ENOUGH blame-games. We need action and we need it NOW!
YOUR voice matters – with enough of us we can drown out the cronies and special interests and lobbyists and sycophant staffers and let these important politicians KNOW that we put them there to FIX THIS MESS!
So PLEASE – if you care about the present and future of this country, let these politicians know!
Do it today!