public outreach

Sometimes, The Answer Is “No”

For the last four years–longer for much of the population–many politicians have been suffering the delusion that they are entitled to run the populace without pushback. True story: people who work in public entities are called public servants for a reason. Leadership requires several components, not least of which includes bearing accountability. There is no such thing as a real leader who can shirk the blame when their efforts go awry. However, with the current president who a) killed people with his recklessness; b) starved people with his stinginess; and c) rewarded those who emulated him, there has been no accountability whatsoever. People can daydream all they want to about how his cohorts can be held in check, but we the populace have seen very little of that. Moreover, we have witnessed that almost all of the politicians in positions of power, local to federal, believe that they deserve their positions and wealth for attaining them.

Not one of those “compassionate” wealthy people has declined to exploit people during a pandemic. Massive, displacing construction projects have continued being approved while homelessness increases, and only “essential” work opportunities with low pay and no benefits have flourished. People with power and resources all talk a great game because they all think this is a game: I win, you lose. There has been no effort to demonstrate that any of the supposedly generous people will be generous during a time of need. In fact, those with extra wealth have continued to launder their wealth through philanthropy to such an extent that confidence in nonprofit organizations has diminished as well. As Maya Angelou stated, “When people show you who they are believe them, the first time.” Despite whatever nonsense speech was issued, none of the politicians served as any example of someone who believes in servitude or generosity. Almost all politicians have demonstrated that they believe the life that made them important should go on without cessation, regardless of who it harms.

Maybe during a pandemic, all tax incentives should have been halted while relief was being determined. Maybe during a recession, apartment rates should have been frozen or reduced, based on location. Maybe during climate change catastrophes and stay-in-place orders, essential workers should have received hazard pay while six- and seven-figure executives forfeited 50% of their income. Moreover, regardless of people hinging all their hopes in elections, guess what: no permits, licenses, demolition, infrastructure, transit routes, communication services, zoning changes–or voter registrations are determined by politicians. All of the aforementioned are designated by comfortable people who alienate their underlings and suffer no consequences. With no politicians serving as examples and no validation for any generosity, these comfortable people will change none of the circumstances that created the multiple crises, and they will sleep well at night. The vulnerable would exist much more comfortably if any of the politicians, department heads, developers, and managers would take “no” for an answer. After all, it is delusional to think that one is endlessly entitled to a “yes.”

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