Shared Outrage

by fp on March 17, 2010

in Wealth disparities

In The Spirit Level Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett show that the income disparity between the poorest and the richest members of society is a powerful metric of the relative health and functionality of a society. The bigger the income gap, the more dysfunctional and unhealthy the society becomes. Increasing the disparity between rich and poor results in increased rates of homicide, obesity, drug use, mental illness, anxiety, teenage pregnancies, and high school dropouts.

If the gap between the richest and poorest among us determines the health and well-being of a society… surprise! We’re fucked. The income disparity between a powerful elite and the average American continues to grow.

Our largest banks siphon off taxpayers’ money to provide huge bonuses for their highest paid people, while millions of workers are losing their jobs and their homes.

Big coal companies, oil companies, and natural gas cartels all block effective environmental protection, perpetually polluting in the face of a growing climate crisis.

Big insurance companies revoke policies of customers with serious illnesses as in the case of the callous actions of Fortis (now “Assurant”) which had a company policy of canceling HIV patients’ insurance.

Roy Eidelson wrote yesterday in Truthout about the virtues of “shared outrage” as a way forward to resolving our problems and reducing the disparities that are choking the goodness out of our culture. He said,

Although regularly overlooked and misunderstood, the catalyst for such a transformation is often surprisingly simple: shared outrage. Indeed, when shared by the disadvantaged and oppressed on the one hand and by those with greater security and resources on the other, outrage can spur the concerted action required to overcome the injustice, insensitivity and inhumanity that foster inequality around the world.

Before we can take advantage of the power of shared outrage, I think we have to develop a shared vision. To do this we’ll have to find a way through the land mines of confusion strewn in our path by the fear mongers of right wing media. When we can focus we’ll be able to get out the vote and throw the tools and hypocrites out of office.

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{ 2 comments }

don harvey March 19, 2010 at 12:14 pm

Check out Michael Moore’s post on “The Daily Beast.com” about Obama’s health care plan. You don’t have to stir up his outrage. He’s already plenty pissed off. And he understands it is indeed all about class war.

fp March 19, 2010 at 6:17 pm

Michael Moore is right. Soon we’ll all be living in Flint, Michigan, 40% unemployment, crumbling Medicaid structure, overworked police hauling miscreants off to jail, wife beaters off their spouses, obese diabetics to the emergency room… Still, today I’m feeling good that Kucinich decided not to pull a Nader. If the dems can learn to use the power we’ve given them, then maybe incremental improvements can happen and our kids will see an improved new world with wonderful infrastructure, solar powered jet packs, the whole thing.

Or maybe not. But passage of the health care bill will be one small step on the road to reform. And if your corner Walgreen’s refuses to sell you your meds if you’re a medicaid patient, then maybe — just maybe — Walgreen’s will begin to feel some of the pressure that’s reserved for impotent gestures at companies like Nestles when they destroy the last Orangutan habitat on the planet.

We gotta introduce confiscatory taxation and take the money off Wall Street to rebuild (gag me with a cliche) Main Street. Only the Dems can make it happen.

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