Monday, January 25, 2010

Move Your Money

As we were enjoying our holiday break, and thinking about the new year, Erik and I made the decision to move our money. This article (which I re-looked up to link to here, and which makes my blood boil all over again reading it now....ergh!) spoke directly to my heart in these matters. I've always had high disdain for politicians, all of them. (I remain a fan of Obama, however, I believe that he is naive to try to work in the system...dude, it's broken. Move on.)

I'm about to go and on, so I'm trying out a "jump" to spare your burning eyes from my nonsense.

I feel disgusted by the politicians, whose health care benefits are ungodly, I'm sorry, but full benefits, until death? Of course they can't understand the need for a public option. They will forever, at our expense, get the best care available. The debate on health care reform (and let's just call it insurance reform, because that's the big obstacle and we know it) is a joke. There are strategists who come up with lingustically charged responses that have nothing to do with the discussion at hand ~ things like "no government should get between you and your doctor" are manufactured responses when the proposal has nothing to do with that, etc. So who's in charge of the debate? Folks who get lobby moneys and perks, campaign contributions, and unending health benefits. I don't think they feel the urgency of this situation.

Disclaimer: I do not claim to be unbiased on this topic. I watched my father-in-law die a rapid, painful death last January....knowing that a pill would help him, one pill in particular that he couldn't get. And now, I watch my godmother with her battle against lung cancer (not caused by smoking, btw) and every day there is some new, horrifying information of what could happen/will happen/can never happen because of insurance issues. I'm not even talking about extreme measures here. How about, she wasn't even offered a 'super mouthwash' that would have soothed her scalded throat (caused by radiation treatments), possibly even enough to eat something. Do you know what it's like to watch somebody spend all day trying to drink four ounces of liquid? To watch them have to check into a hospital to get hydrated because they are starving, to death, and then find out that oh, look, at least until the end of this month, we can actually get you some relief for that? But then, after that, well, let's check with the insurance, you might run out before then. And good luck getting new coverage, by the way. *pant pant* I need to go wash my face and lie down.

There is something fantastically corrupt about living in a nation with our Constitution and Bill of Rights, where I've come to the conclusion that the only reliable news source is the Daily Show and the BBC news. Really? I love John Stewart, but that's pathetic. And then the Supreme Court goes and extends those freedoms (of free speech, no less, one we hold so dear) to corporations so they can give unchecked campaign contributions. Really? Corporations are not people...they are entities created by people. Entities do not have inalienable human rights because, um, they are not human.

Unchecked greed will be/is the ruin of everything we hold dear. For a long, long, long time, I've been cynical. I have not believed that anything I say or do makes a difference. This serves nobody, however, and I've made some decisions this year to be radical. To be subversive. To be informed. It's no small feat, just to try to be informed, because there are so many people and institutions who benefit from a misinformed and/or misdirected public. I've heard more gasping and pearl-clutching about Brad and Angelina's possible demise in the last 48 hours than I have about the health care reform debate in the past 6 months.

Here are some places which I find to be wholly credible and with a distinctive lack of hyperbole:
Bill Moyer's Journal (*love* him, especially for national news and information) and Fareed Zackaria's GPS (*love* him, especially for international news and information).

So. To me, being radical and subversive and informed has nothing to do with political labels. Some people might associated "radical" with "liberal", but I am neither liberal nor conservative. (I'm closest, in my personal views, to libertarian...but I have progressive leanings where I believe that the access for some folks, to resources in particular, has been tainted by outside influences...we need to right social injustices and inequities, particularly where somebody wins when somebody else loses. Those are the hardest ones to rectify, as they usually require outside pressure; the two parties affected rarely see the situation for what it can be. Just my experience, nothing more or less than that.)

I remember when the BIG FINANCIAL FALL occured, and all we heard was "too big to fail! too big to fail!" I turned to Erik and said, "Let it burn. Yeah, it'll suck, but it will change us and we will be better off in the long run." Pretty radical. Other radical moves we've made...we don't have credit card debt. We live in a modest home and own our modest cars. (All relative... 9/10ths of the planet would not agree with our assessment of "modest", I can assure you.) We pay cash, or we do without. And that includes big expenditures, like the bathroom remodel we are embarking on. We are blessed beyond measure that our needs have been met ~ now, and always up until now ~ but I also like to think we've met the situation half way by keeping our "needs" separated from our "wants".

So, what rattled my cage? Chuckie's dad insisted on slipping a folded bill into my hands to thank us for taking care of Chuckie. Of course I protested, but it was bordering on rude to not accept it. Plus, I thought it was $20, so I didn't want to make a big deal out of a sweet gesture. When they left, I looked at it and it was a one hundred dollar bill. I felt like chasing them down the street. Anyway, I "gave" it to Tommy. (I'll be diverting some of it back to them, via gourmet treats for the pup and a placemat for Chuckie's bowls that I'm customizing for him, but Tommy was so serious about his caretaking and owner-finding duties that I thought he should get the 'reward', so diversions will come from my wallet.) We'll be opening his first savings account with it. At Fremont Bank. Where we'll also be moving our own money. Because it's radical. Make a statement! You don't have to share my beliefs, or make the same statement I'm choosing to make...but let's get bold and find our voices, because I'm tired of feeling cynical and disenfranchised. I want my boys to believe that what they say, do, and think matters.


  1. We haven't used any of the big banks since 2001. We also were totally against the bailouts. Good for you for being radical. Even the small things add up to big things.

  2. Tracy ~ "even the small things"...just about describes our bank accounts! haha So, here's something interesting...we'd always been in local banks...except they've all been sucked into the larger ones. Fremont Bank is the ONLY local bank anywhere near us (and by that I mean that they have one office two towns over). Seriously. It's our ONLY option. How crazy is that?

    Cori ~ You rule.