2021 in the rear-view mirror
Where do we go from here?
Here we are together at the end of a very long year. Many of us dared to hope that in 2021 we would see an end to this global pandemic, some healing in the wake of Trump's vitriol, and a renewed commitment to our country's social contract -- the one that that commits to shared growth, equality of opportunity, and dignity for all Americans.
We made progress towards those ends (please take heart in that) but the real work has just begun. As we reckon with ongoing challenges and brace ourselves for the midterm elections, we need access to clear, accurate information. We also need to be fortified by communities of thoughtful and committed people.
That's why I began this newsletter. Please share it with your friends, families, colleagues, and social media networks.
I've focused on issues that the mainstream media has omitted or misrepresented: The real economy rather than the stock market. How the jobs numbers show workers flexing their power and demanding better from their employers. How inflation is a result of corporate power rather than social spending. How both Democrats and Republicans are captured by monied interests like Big Pharma, the cryptocurrency lobby, and private equity. I've shared a few of my own experiences to reveal how we became obsessed with the federal deficit and why CEO pay has skyrocketed.
I've shown the power relationships undergirding the news -- connecting the dots between politicians and their backers (for example, Joe Manchin and the coal industry, Kyrsten Sinema and the pharmaceutical industry), confronting political violence (including the legacy of January 6), and demanding accountability.
I've written about the importance of being resilient in the face of challenges. I've shared with you what keeps me optimistic (including teaching this inspiring generation of young people). And I've taken heart from the stories and insights many of you have shared about how you stay hopeful in times of despair.
The work directly ahead of us in 2022 could not be more important. We must protect voting rights -- which won't happen until we deal with the filibuster. And we need to recognize that the costs of doing nothing about climate change, a wildly dysfunctional health care system, lack of childcare, and deteriorating schools are far higher than any legislation we might pass to address these problems.
To take on these big systemic issues, we need to be tenacious, smart, and strategic. We also need to root ourselves in public morality and the common good. And in the face of disinformation and lies, we need to spread the truth as widely as possible, even to those who disagree or may seem apathetic.
So please share this newsletter. We have a big year ahead of us.