Money makes the world go ’round

Last week I went to a town hall meeting about the California budget crisis. There were several experts and a lot of the rest of us. I heard about how things are gonna be even more awful unless California politicians—and, of course, Congress—behave in completely new ways.

The talk was about symptoms—money and jobs lost—from every section of the budget and the lower levels of society. One of the assumptions in the room was, “Jobs are important.” “We need people to be hired.” We’re trained for jobs from nursery school on. Some of us once dreamed of working for a faction like Time-Warner, or Halliburton, or Batman. At the meeting we acted like if we just had more organizations whose primary purpose is to accumulate capital, Chico and the rest of the state would be just dandy, just like the old days.

The business expert made clear how enmeshed businesses are in our lives. True dat. We can meet all day every day, and as long as we’re dependent on corporations for our livelihoods, sustenance, transportation, and entertainment, nothing much will change. We keep renting our minds and bodies to them and buying their stuff and helping them maintain control over us with taxes that pay for our gleefully overfunded corporate police state. Welcome to now.

I loved the admission all around that we’re all interconnected in sometimes subtle ways and the bell tolls for all of us, and by us I mean human beings. If you’re a person like Citibank, there ain’t no bells, ever, which is really why we were meeting.

Most of us at the meeting seemed to think something was wrong with our system, but few to none suggested what can be done to actually fix it, not just replace some of the money in line items we most care about. I don’t think anything’s wrong with our system. It works just fine for some people.

The main strategy I heard suggested was more grassroots organization and more meetings and pressure on California legislators into doing what the people there want done. One health-issue group wants me and my friends to have a house party, or I could just send money. If money equals effectiveness, capitalism will always win, because most of us are for sale.

It was a good crowd, a lot of lovers and others who want to do something they think of as good and fair for all people. Nobody expected any solutions, which was just as well. After the experts talked, a guy in the audience mentioned a constitutional convention, the obvious key to the whole thing.