1. What are some resources I could use to verify statistics that you are using in your presentations?
2. What can I do, other than vote, to contribute in a positive way and promote change? Especially with limited free time to spare?
1. All the following departments and organizations have immense web sites I make regular use of when doing empirical work: the Department of Commerce, the Department of Labor, the Census Bureau, the White House Office of Management and Budget, and the Federal Reserve System. Outside the US government: Economic Policy Institute, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and such international sites as the OECD, Eurostats, FAO and the UN generally. Wikipedia has proven a great starting point which may lead to additional data you would find useful.
2. Voting is a good start, but in the U.S. our two major political parties are quite similar – especially in their basic responses to social problems - and run campaigns based more on costly TV ads than on mass participation. The truth is that the society we live in is now dysfunctional. The economy tanked and left most of to cope with tough consequences. The gap between rich and poor widens and thereby deepens social tensions. These are social problems that cannot be solved individually. They need social solutions that are worked out and pursued by social movements. Individuals are responding in the US chiefly by trying to escape from social problems (into careers, personal lives, schools, travel to distant places, alcohol, Facebook, and so on). Individual responses rarely work. Our society’s problems find their ways into our lives no matter which escape routes we try. The sooner we realize that social problems and crises demand social responses, the better. What I have to suggest may frustrate you since it does take time and effort: Economic decline and political disengagement in the US will not likely change until enough people decide to gather with others to generate social efforts/movements for change. Form a group if one to your liking is not already there. Find groups to ally with around shared projects and goals. Start by getting together to talk about your lives, your jobs, your fears for the future, or the quality and quantity of pubic services provided in your community. The topic matters less than assembling others so act as part of a social effort and movement. You may also contact my non-profit at firstname.lastname@example.org to get in touch with other d@w supporters in your area.
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