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On understanding the problem

Posted byWritten by David

Reactionary stands makes us feel good but they aren’t solutions

We are not well.

By any measure, our society in the U.S. is broken. This is a hard truth, but it is the truth.

Economically, we’re stagnant. Specifically, wage growth. There is none.

READ MORE: Wage Growth Tracker – Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

Socially, we’re retreating. Specially, we’ve fallen nine spots on the Social Progress Index over the last 10 years.

READ MORE: Time for collective contemplation

As an optimist, I am not paralyzed by this truth. Instead, it’s fuel for seeking a path forward.

Our problem, however, is that not all of us understand the problem. Besides having a shared vision, we don’t even have a consensus view of the problem.

A very recent situation highlights this point.

Last month, Georgia passed a law with significant voting restrictions.

READ MORE: Georgia G.O.P. Passes Major Law to Limit Voting – The New York Times

If you have a cursory knowledge of voting rights history in the South, this law doesn’t fool you. In the words of Justice Potter Stewart, you know when you see it.

READ MORE: Jacobellis v. Ohio :: 378 U.S. 184 (1964) :: Justia US Supreme Court Center

Politically, the law is a swift reaction to the changing ideological landscape in Georgia. Democrats pulled off wins in two U.S. Senate races and voter turnout has been trending to the left.

Culturally, the law is designed to maintain racial imbalance and perpetuate a certain power structure.

Within a week, capitalism reacts. Delta and Coca-Cola — both headquartered in Atlanta — deliver strongly worded rebukes of the law.

Then Major League Baseball decides to move the All-Store Game out of Atlanta to a stadium to be named later.

READ MORE: MLB Pulls All-Star Game From Atlanta, Georgia, in Response to Voting Law – The New York Times

This is a broken social and political system.

Absolutely, the Georgia law is wrong. It directly and indirectly makes voting harder for marginalized populations, specifically people of color.

There is racism everywhere. It needs to end.

But is this political and economic whack-a-mole going to get us where we want to be?

No. No it will not.

All this does is perpetuate instability. Instability breads contempt. Contempt fuels disconnection. Disconnection rots our soul.

We are not well.

But wait, we need MLB to take a stand. Moving the All-Star Game out of Georgia is taking a stand. It’s necessary to demonstrate what’s important; to signal our values.

Yes, but to what end. The All-Star Game was projected to generate $37 to $190 million in economic impact. That economic boost was going to help hundreds of small businesses get back on their feet. Thousands of people will return to work and regain their livelihood.

Not anymore.

READ MORE: Economists: Financial impact of sporting events, including MLB’s All Star game, often overstated

So that collateral damage is okay to take an economic and capitalistic stand?

The ripple effects are immeasurable.

We’re doing this to ourselves and to the people we supposedly care about.

We are not well.

What else could Major League Baseball, Delta, and Coca-Cola do to combat the terrible voting law? Three immediate actions come to mind.

1 End all direct contributions to all candidates for political office. All candidates; blue, red, purple, etc. Cut off the spigot. Make candidates get elected on better policy stances and less money to make their case.

2 During the next election cycle, work with local community organizers and fill every single gap and help people overcome every single hurdle the law is designed to create. Get every single person to the ballot box that wants to vote.

If we want better, we need to be better.

We are not well.

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