February 2017 Update
Wow! I haven’t updated my “About” page in over two years. There have been some changes. You’ll see that Aware & Fair is now simply JoAnnChateau.com (soon to change to .blog). Since I am expanding the scope of my writing, a personal blog seems a better way to organize a more multi-faceted collection of work and interests.
“Progressive” is part of my world view, however, so you’ll still find posts about progressive politics. Even my fiction and “Simple Pleasures” posts have a politically progressive angle. For instance, my favorite recipes are vegan (or at least vegetarian). Why? Because I’m thinking about animal welfare. If I blog about a film, it probably has a progressive social message. And my fictional character, Chester the Alpha Bichon, protects a pack of progressive creatives and activists–wouldn’t you know!
Thanks for visiting my blog. Peace, well-being, and democracy for all!
JoAnn Chateau, Author & Progressive
September 2014 Update
Aware and Fair is mainly about progressive political and grassroots action in the U.S. I try to focus on progressive movements that highlight how our country may once more rise up as a nation with a strong democracy of/by/for the people.
Without writing a lot of personal opinion, I post videos and links that reveal powerful actions that some amazing people are taking to restore balance to our nation. I find these works very inspiring and hopeful. If any readers agree, they are encouraged to share links to the original materials on YouTube and the websites of these Americans who are excreting blood, sweat, and tears (and money) to do something for this country. They are our present-day heroes.
By the way, I’ve only been following the real issues for little over a year. This is what I wrote last September when I began this blog. Maybe some of you will relate.
Asleep on the Issues
I’ve been asleep when it comes to politics. Involved in my own projects, I didn’t listen to TV or the radio like I used to. Anyway, who has the time to analyze and understand all the issues? Aren’t politics frustrating and depressing? Finally, our elected officials are experts on the issues; they will take care of things.
Personally, I had noticed less buying power every year, even though I received annual raises. Then I managed to grasp that corporations are enjoying all-time record profits. (It filtered in somehow.) Hmmm. So I began thinking.
I’m no political wiz, but as a retired counselor, I know system dynamics. A system that does not allow all members to thrive, is out-of-balance. That is, the system is dysfunctional; it doesn’t work well; and is ultimately unsustainable.
And I remembered what a former boss once told me. “You can’t squeeze the lower classes, because it hurts the overall economy.” (By the way, he was a student of history.)
This led me to mentally visualize the U.S. economy as a pyramid. I wondered why the people at the top of the pyramid (the wealthiest) would allow the bottom of the pyramid to crumble away. Don’t they know they are… sinking?
The masses at the pyramid base represent millions of consumers. They use services and products that people in the middle of the pyramid create and produce…. If the base people crumble off the pyramid, and the people in the middle of the pyramid are thus slipping closer to the bottom because they are selling less…. I got it! Really got it, now. That’s the Disappearing Middle Class.
Citizens United Shocked Me
Truly embarrassed here. But I never heard of the Citizens United ruling until last year. (It was released in January 2010.) I was shocked. Corporations (and labor unions) are allowed to…
“Spend unlimited sums on ads and other political tools, calling for the election or defeat of individual candidates.”
Hmmm. Wouldn’t conflicts-of-interest arise? Would that not be like Big Business controlling U.S. elections? What about the concerns of individual citizens?
This seems very out-of-balance; undemocratic.
Thanks to The Colbert Report
Thanks to The Colbert Report, I actually became aware of Citizens United. You see, in 2012 Stephen Colbert regularly spoofed on Super PACs, an offshoot of Citizens United.
I also learned that paying attention to politics wasn’t that hard or depressing.
Keeping Up with Political Issues
After the shock of learning about Citizens United, I woke up. I began to learn more about pressing political issues. I went “on alert” for grass-roots organizations that are doing something to preserve the American Dream. I even learned of global organizations that care about personal rights and environmental issues for people around the world.
I now devote a little time each day to review the political scene. The most efficient way for me to stay informed is to listen to respected political analysts.
I like the MSnbc news analysts because they are progressive and liberal-thinking, like myself. Still, one tries to be objective. So I go to NPR, which strives to be unbiased. For the most dispassionate reportage on U.S. news and politics, I turn to CBC (Canada) and BBC (Britain).
I always watch the latest Colbert Report and Daily News (with Jon Stewart). They help me detach from worry and keep me from feeling overwhelmed by powers outside of my control. Humor lightens serious issues to a tolerable level.
Meanwhile, I subscribe to RSS feeds from informative activist organizations. I sign petitions I want to support – easily, online. And I share worthy resources on Facebook.
Finally, I started this blog. It allows me keep track of my findings, and writing always helps me clear my thinking.