After going through the stages of shock and grief -- you've seen it all on social media so there is no need to enumerate them here -- I calmed myself down and thought about what I've learned and what to do next.
What is clear is that both parties have failed us. Both are beholden to special interests and care little about the environment or the average American. As a Princeton study pointed out, neither party represents the common people anymore. The resulting pent up anger has now been channeled by a demagogue who fanned a national wave of racism, sexism, islamophobia, and xenophobia, and rode it to power. As a gay ethnic minority and an immigrant, I feel this very personally.
I am more now convinced than ever that the true path towards equality for all is not pleading for tolerance, but economic empowerment. When the people own and support our own businesses, and have as much combined economic power as the elites, we naturally become a force to be respected and listened to. It is not about white allies creating safe spaces for people of color. Rather, it is about all of us, regardless of race, gender, creed, sexuality, etc., coming together to empower ourselves.
The good news is that the era of waiting for someone else to solve our problems is over. This is the age when we come together and help ourselves. An example is the more than six thousand Bernie Supporters contesting local elections across the country. They aim to take over the Democratic Part from the ground up.
Economic empowerment IS possible, if we do not let Wall Street control our money. Excessive increase in money supply leads to bubbles. Excessive reduction in money supply leads to recessions. The banks are the ones with the power to excessively increase the money supply though speculative and predatory lending and excessively reduce the money supply through refusal to grant small business loans. That is too much power and we should take it back. There are two approaches to addressing this problem.
One approach is to give this power to either federal or local governments and let them issue money. But this also raises the very real problem of how to ensure governments do not abuse this power for pork barrel politics.
The other approach is to create our own money. This is the money that we use to empower ourselves. We use this money to buy local, and it circulates locally to build local prosperity. Yes, it is less convenient because it is not universally accepted, just like it is less convenient to buy local when Amazon is just one click away. It boils down to a choice between convenience and self-empowerment. Which would you choose?
This is not a self-interested plea to use Bay Bucks. If you know of other local currency or barter network, by all means, use them. We don’t care which you use as long as you use one. Use it actively, at least once a month. And tell everyone about it so they use it too.
It is time we stop hoping for someone else to solve the problems for us. So, let's start by empowering ourselves.