One of the problems that I've had with much of the protests we've seen over the past year was the constant, hysterical, impotent rage which yelled and fulminated but in the end accomplished little. It more than a few cases, it was personal, mean spirited and lacked any sense of thoughtful reflection necessary to provide an alternative solution (other than a return to the 'good ole days' that gave us the problems in the first place!).
Take, for instance the bank bailouts. Driven by the fear of near economic collapse, banks were 'forced' to take trillions of dollars to balance their books, and to begin making loans. Of course we know what happened. Some of the banks are healthier, some have even repayed the bailout money. But small business and home loans are much more difficult to get.
Some are organizing to 'throw the bums out'. Which will probably result (if successful) in 'fresh meat' for K Street lobbyists in D.C. Still others have become disengaged. The political ferver of 2008, cooled by the 'reality' of governing in hard times. Choices have to be made. Actual or implied promises have been broken and trust has been violated. Still others have the legitimate criticism: righting the economic ship of our country has focused on the financial institutions that got us in trouble in the first place, while those still in the water are still waiting for their life preservers! These are families who have lost jobs, houses and hope.
What can any of the rest of us do?
Arianna Huffington is proposing a pretty ingenious, and very simple idea. The editor of The Huffington Post says, 'Make the banks that are too big to fail, smaller'! If you resent the mult-million dollar bonuses of financial executives, the arrogance, insensitivity and indifference of financial institutions deemed 'to big to fail', simply take your money out of those banks and put your money in a small community bank. In other words: move your money!
Now, this isn't an official endorsement and there's no such thing as a perfect strategy - but you gotta admit, its a pretty smart idea. Think of it. If you seriously are upset by the bailouts here's a non-partisan, civic action that has the potential for real economic benefit. You don't have to 'destroy' the system. You don't have to insult anyone. Simply demonstrate your displeasure, by moving your money.
You can find more information at http://www.moveyourmoney.info/. It not only explains the action, it also provides you with a list of community banks and credit unions in your area, all FDIC insured, all with a rating of 'B' or above (their not about to close, in other words).
Again, a pretty interesting idea. And for those who want to do something more than complain, it is action. That's what citizens do - they don't just throw temper tantrums, they act.
And by the way, I moved my money to a community bank before the bailout. Its on the list!