I just watched “Park Avenue: Money, Power & the American Dream.” Not so uplifting or hopeful. My readers digest version is that many U.S. billionaires have bought U.S. Democracy. Mostly Republicans, but Democrats (cough, Chuck Schumer) are to blame as well. They don’t want to be taxed. They donate to politicians and — surprise — we see sympathetic policies. Low tax rates on the ultra-rich. And undoubtedly Trump’s proposals will follow suit. And, naturally, we must tip our hat to Ayn Rand. I think many of us wish Atlas had never shrugged.
Before we get to what we do, let’s pause and just ask one important question — WHAT DO THEY WANT WITH ALL OF THAT MONEY??? How many boats and penthouses can one own? I have zero and I’m pretty happy. Ok, they earned it. They work hard. But so do a lot of people. I could list them. You know who they are and are likely one of them.
And one more digression — why demonize the poor? Why have the Republicans constantly referred to them as mooochers? Why do they want to do away with food stamps when <.1% goes to fraud? They work. The economy does not function for them.
There’s really only one reason their message constantly rises to the top. Marketing, strategy, and branding. They have the money and they tell the story.
But we can tell a new story. For the next four years, we have to repeat the real story. Downplay the tweets from Trump. Don’t let Paul Ryan tell a story that is clearly untrue.
We tell the story and we correct the falsehoods.
But how? This is where I get stuck. I’m an academic. Which is why I’m writing and sharing. But I didn’t used to write at all and there are probably a dozen of you who read this. That’s something.
Now I circle back to #fiveminutes. If there is no pressing need to call a representative or attend a town hall then:
- Write an op-ed. Correct the story. Tell your story.
- Read. Everything.
- Follow watchdog groups like RISE When We fall, @. I’ve gotten involved and have so far been at least impressed with their organization and passion. I have a call tomorrow to start acting.
- Watch important (and reliable, reputable) TV. Start with Park Avenue.
- Stay frustrated. Be ready to channel that frustration. We can’t buy our way out of this. That’s just not how math works. It will take grassroots action, which is time and energy.