One of the biggest problems I tend to see in our society is that people in general do not want to have conversations of substance. They do not want to take personal responsibility for the problems in our society, even when it affects them personally. They prefer to be entertained. Constantly.
In the cases where you can engage them in more serious conversation, it is exceedingly rare that it involves taking personal action. They watch or read the news and get angry, anxious or depressed. Yell at the screen. Sit in circles with other people and voice their angst. Continually actively seeking someone to blame for their problems but only if who they blame is even more powerless than they are, themselves.
The most ludicrous part is when majorities or the more powerful express their victimization. Whites blaming minorities, men blaming women, rich blaming poor, Christians blaming everyone. As you make your way down the food chain, each level blames the next level down far too often.
This is what happens when we have a society of spectators and the most powerful hold the reins of information and communication. Corporations own the media. Men hold power and control checkbooks. Priests and pastors control the pulpit while being enslaved to their biggest donors to build the next mega-church.
In all cases, what too many people in this country do is hand the power of action to someone else. Then they do not even bother defining what actions they want performed.
This is like hiring a contractor to build or repair your home. Then not telling them the exact repairs. You hire the contractor based on their advertising but never check references or licenses. You just tell them to fix and improve the house. “Make it better.” Then hand them your credit card.
A good contractor will ask what specific repairs you want and in what time frame. They will tell you the steps involved and how much it will cost. Then they will set up a system where you pay as work progresses. As work progresses, they are happy to show you what has been done so far and what to expect next.
A bad contractor will not ask you what you want. They will sell you on vague alleged upgrades and unrealistic promises. They will not tell you how long the repairs will take. They will not tell you the cost, just demand your credit card. They will charge you all they can up front. Once they have your money, they will refuse to say when work even begins. Then declare bankruptcy with no work completed but your bank account emptied while your roof caves in. When they show up in court they will claim it was all your fault for not paying enough.
The saddest part is that too many Americans have watched this cycle repeatedly and never learn. They call the next crooked contractor that advertises loudly on TV, starting the entire cycle over again. Always choosing the bad contractors.
If we want problems solved, we must define the solutions. Find contractors capable of performing the work. If they claim to have done any similar work, check their references. If not, make them detail how the work will be done. Demand blueprints. We must refuse to pay the bill up front. We must ask questions, demand answers and inspect the work while it is being performed. We must check and be sure the contractor is even showing up to begin the work. If they do not perform the way we want, we must fire those contractors and hire more carefully. And keep our credit cards in our own possession, not theirs.
Along the way, we have to keep in mind that there are many people living in the same house, so any changes need to meet the approval of the majority of those residents. Before even beginning the work, we must discuss any plans as adults. Not try and scream over anyone who does not agree.
To the people who think in Jerry Springer show terms, remember they live in rotted out trailers and screw anything that walks. Home repairs to them mean getting a new screen door while leaving the leaking roof untouched. They’ll never read a contract in their life. They think taking out a payday loan to make payments on their other payday loans is normal.
We can do better than we have been. We must do better than we have been. Beginning with inspecting the work of the contractors we have already hired. Because that’s what an elected official is. They are not our leaders, they are our employees. We should not be following their orders, they should be following ours. When we ask questions, they should be answering, not claiming privilege over us.
Every bit of this means that we have to be involved in determining our own future. That means seeking more education and less entertainment.