An end to politics as usual

DJ comments on our post Firedoglake goes after Rahm, White House deals with Fannie, Freddie.

Like him, I am beyond tired of one party blaming the other for their problems while using it as a ploy to increase their campaign coffers and power base. The other party isn’t the problem. While there are some real differences between the parties, for the most part it’s Tweedledum and Tweedledee protecting entrenched financial interests. The current financial crisis is making that apparent to everyone now. — Bob

I am so glad to see party loyalty finally being superceded by some kind of morality. Both sides have for too long been content to have “their” crooks in office, while decrying the other guy’s crooks.

Having determined that the system is rotten at its core, are we ready yet to take action? I don’t mean overthrowing anything– that’s unnecessary. Instead, seperate from it. Show the mega-corporate world how irrelevant it really is. Here are five suggestions:

1) Wherever possible, deal with small, local companies and get to know the owners. Support small, honest businesses.

2) If you must deal with a mega-corporation (i.e. internet services or cell phones), choose one that is socially conscious, like Google.

3) Eat local. Know your farmers. Frequent the farmers markets and farm stores. What you can’t buy there, buy at a locally-owned grocery, not a national chain. (In some urban areas, ethnic grocery stores may be the only option.)

4) Network with other like-minded businesses and people. Know (and share) where to get products and services outside the mega-corporate arena.

5) Avoid credit. If you must use credit, get it through a community bank, not a mega-bank.

6) Don’t invest in Wall Street– invest in your local community instead. Whether rental property or a small business, it’s a better investment, and the game ISN’T rigged. If you can’t afford to buy a property, pool your resources with others!

7) Find and develop relationships where you can do business with a handshake. Integrity has been one of the casualties of corporatization. Adversarial relationships promote somebody getting screwed– avoid them!

Can it be done? Absolutely. The only mega-corporation I deal with is my cell phone provider. Some say it’s easier in a rural community because we’re smaller. But urban areas have even more small businesses, you just have to hunt for them– and find the ones that operate with integrity. (For example, you know that a national auto service chain will eventually rip you off; not all locally-owned auto mechanics are honest, but you can find some who are.)

Even when I lived in Los Angeles, I never advertised because once people realized I was always fair, I got all my clients through referrals. When you need a product or service, don’t go to the Yellow Pages, ask your friends and associates instead.

This may require a little more effort, and you may sometimes have to pay a little more. But often, the local business will be cheaper in the long run. And remember: you’re paying for mega-corporations (and mega-banks and mega-food) through your taxes, too!

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