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Articles in "The Road to Resilience"

Today it seems like we are living in a fantasy world where the ruling forces don’t have any grounding or relation to a commonly accepted reality.  W.B. Yeats’ poem, “The Second Coming,” written a hundred years ago, still characterizes our times:  “The best lack all conviction / While the worst are filled with passionate intensity.” 

Economics as it has come to be studied has got to be one of the most stultifying subjects known to man.  Within the first three equations, my mind starts to wander and the soft murmurs of slumber begin to crowd out my consciousness.

Since the national elections, it looks like Democrats, such as they are, will be primarily in reactive mode as they really have little control over what happens at the national level.  There is the historical surge of resistance from the grassroots, which is very encouraging, but the question is how long will we be able to keep it up?

In girding our community loins for the tumultuous times ahead, we need to be looking toward maximizing our ability to subsist locally and regionally.  In addition to broadening our skills and strengthening our community bonds, we will need to optimize and cultivate our resources.  For some time now, we have been carefully managing our water supply.

The world we find ourselves in today has thrown most of us into a real quandary.  The fact is that nobody knows what is going to happen next, and most of the options are not that appealing.  It is easy enough to see utter disaster looming.
 

Whether we’re in a dangerous situation or simply inconvenienced, it is our level of resourcefulness that determines if and how quickly we resolve the situation.  We in the developed world really don’t need to know much about the places we inhabit or the things we need or use. 

In case you’ve been procrastinating on your New Year’s resolutions, I have a few suggestions.   This was a tough year, and 2017 looks like it could be worse.  The ball is definitely in our court, and we have to decide whether and how we are going to put it in play.

Last column, I wrote about tribalism being a force that encouraged suspicion and hatred between different racial and ethnic groups.  A friend pointed out that our indigenous people, who call themselves tribes

We have come to a time when those with racial, ethnic, and sexual biases think that their views have achieved some level of legitimacy.   The only way we can counter that opinion is by showing by sheer numbers how small—hopefully—a minority they really are.  Before we can do that, we should all spend some time confronting our own biases. 

A year ago, who could have imagined that a perfect storm of discontent, fear, and blind folly would land us in the world we have today?  I’ve always said that this is one of the most exciting times to be alive, and our current scenario fits that description in spades.

Back in 1988, Joy Goldstein strong-armed me into working with her and a handful of others on the Community Council Affordable Housing Committee.  We went on to form Vashon Household (Joy’s name).  I put about twenty years into the effort, and despite some notable successes, such as Charter House, JG Commons, Roseballen, Eernisse Apts., and Mukai Commons, I’ve never felt that our efforts put a dent in the structural foundations of housing unaffordability.

I have been working with a group called Revolution Vashon.  We are Berniecrats that are promoting the political revolution that Bernie Sanders called for.  We agree with Bernie that it is vitally important that Hillary Clinton be elected president.

When I started writing this column years ago, it was intended to be a voice for the Transition Vashon group.  We were espousing the need to plan for decreasing energy use due to the dangers of CO2 concentration and consequent global warming, and the arrival of peak oil.

Last issue, I began exploring the importance of focusing on a new vision rather than just combating the present incompetence.  Addressing an article recently published in YES! Magazine by Gar Alperivitz titled “Six Ways We Are Already Leading an Economic Revolution,”

Trying to get more involved in government policy decisions is a tough and thankless task when the emphasis seems to be on choosing the least worst power broker to run the nation who has the least objectionable plan (if any) to get us out of any number of messes that our established corporate power brokers have gotten us into.

Regardless of who you may have voted for in the primaries, you may have felt that things you consider important are not happening, and that major changes are in order.

Our task remains essentially the same as it would have been if Bernie Sanders had been elected President.  Sanders made us to understand that nothing he was espousing would happen without a major grass roots effort to force our elected officials to act.  I imagine we all thought it might be a whole lot easier with Bernie in the seat of power, but we weren’t being totally honest with ourselves.

The conventions are over and our next president will be either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.  A few years ago, it looked like we were going to have a very humdrum choice of the two ruling family establishment candidates, Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton.

Picture this scenario.  The presumptive nominee for the Democratic Party is lagging in the polls before the nominating convention.  Another candidate that might attract more votes lags behind in elected delegates but can take the nomination if the superdelegates vote for him.

Those of you that have read my column for some time remember that my primary subject has always been transitioning our society away from a fossil fuel-based economy bent on infinite growth.  One of the reasons for transition is that the ever-growing use of fossil fuels is creating a change in our climate that threatens the existence of the world we know.

Both the Republicans and the Democrats have been challenged this election year by a populist insurrection.  Many of us bristle as the pundits throw Trump and Sanders supporters into the same bag.   After all, the motives and intentions of the two factions seem to be as different as night and day. 

Although there will be much more to consider as the election saga unfolds this week, I want to talk about a local project that will make our community here more secure and resilient regardless of election results in November.

First off, the article in the last issue, “Politics Among The Billionaires,” was wrongfully attributed to me.  It was written by Ward Carson.
As we approach the end of the 2016 primary season, we find the likely candidates of both parties to have the highest unfavorability ratings since such polls have been taken.  Trump at 57% and Clinton at 55% top the charts.

Imagine yourself as a billionaire in 1981.  Ronald Reagan has just been elected.  You’ve parked one of your billions in Treasury bonds—a solid, conservative investment backed by the full faith and credit of the US Government.