By Scott Keller, founder of End the Debt, Inc.
HOUSTON, TX — Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in March 1968, weeks before he was assassinated, said, “it is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard.”
I would add, “and the oppressed,” for as I look around the nation at the cities and towns struggling, at the people without homes, without work, without real hope though it was promised, I see tremendous potential being thrown out the window. The Baltimore riots are just the latest symptom of a problem that if left to fester will only produce more of the same.
But could, in all of the chaos and pain and destruction, with the help of MLK’s insightful words, be an answer? A silver lining? The key to solving it all?
The way I see it, we have two basic choices (and a variety of flavors of those choices). Those two choices are to try to deal with the symptoms or deal with the roots of the problem. We can, as has been the case so far, face violence with more force. Those in charge can continue to essentially ignore, whether by choice or by lack of awareness of anything else they CAN do, the pleas and cries of those who have been dis-empowered for decades. Or they can turn down a new path and empower these people with seldom used tools that are and have been available for centuries which can GIVE them back their voice, along with control of their own futures and destinies!
This round of violence in Baltimore will be quelled I’m sure, and there may be a period following that seems peaceful. But we know that the problems still exist and are not being addressed. The killing of Freddie Gray, while tragic and senseless and confounding, was and is just a catalyst for a fire that was already burning and will continue to burn until the root cause of it is resolved.
The people of these poor communities, especially those of color, are grasping at straws, desperate for an escape route from their hell-like lifestyles and they are now lashing out at any target they think they can identify. The American Dream has long since vanished for most of them. Poor education, poor economic factors, poor outlook, poor role models added to poor influences from TV, radio, music, and their so-called “leaders” create no other possible outcome than desperation and hopelessness and a feeling of not being heard.
But there ARE answers. There ARE paths, non federal government paths, to a better future, with the right mindset coupled with the right tools, and the right solidarity and co-operation within the communities and cities around the nation. Education can become phenomenal for them. Daily life can become a delight, full of successes, hope, progress, and a visible destination that’s even better. All of the factors that can be considered as necessary for a happy and fulfilling life can be attained and I know what they are and so do many others. Unfortunately those in charge apparently don’t know or don’t want to admit that they know. I’d like to give these “leaders” the benefit of the doubt, but I can’t rest with assumptions.
These people don’t need government handouts, nor do they need some big corporation to save them. They need economic and social tools that will help them catapult themselves to their fullest potential. They also need to believe in themselves.
What kinds of tools could help them? A local currency, run by the local government can help tremendously. I often refer to Worgl as an example as they accomplished tremendous things there with such an approach. In this day and age we have technology that can make it easier and better, so there’s no excuse to not consider such a thing as an option to empower the people there, locally, to rise up to their fullest potential. Of course I have to plug my mission here at End the Debt which is to return to a usury free, private bank free, sovereign currency which also leads towards a more inclusive an prosperous future for all.
Another tool: co-ops. Local co-ops can accomplish large or small projects from building a new school to establishing a new education system from scratch.
Poor communities are not powerless to peacefully change their situation, but there’s no one stepping up to show them the power they truly have. Here’s a first step. Who will join me?