“Community 3.0” … The People Have the Power, Part 3

In my last two posts, I’ve lamented on the current and very possible future state of America, and that of many other developed nations.

I’ve deplored the role of narcissistic special interest groups in our government and ultimately our livelihood. I’ve bemoaned the effect of the religious right’s self-righteous social campaigns have had on the rights of women and children. I’ve been appalled by the actions of our government in turning back the basic tenants of our constitution – to the time when there was no constitution. And I’ve become sincerely embarrassed to be part of a country that would so bluntly disregard a portion of its population by refusing to give a it hand-up in their time of greatest need.

But today I’m going to take a step out from the dark, out from the gloom. Enough’s been said about what’s wrong and how much further we can fall into the abyss void of compassion, empathy and sensibilities. Now it’s time to turn the tables and visualize hope. For today, let us be immune from the abuses of the 1% and immune from the dysfunction of our government. Today let us envision solutions.

The strength, the salvation of a society lies not with their governmental leaders. It lies not with their institutions. It lies in the hearts, the souls, the minds and the fortitude of its people … the people of its streets, your neighbors and your friends. And it lies with you. And from your neighbors, your friends and you will lie the solutions.

Our governments have let the safety nets so many depend on, here and abroad – fall to ruin and deteriorate to tatters. And they have shown no willingness to repair them. It is us, it is you – and your friends and your neighbors who must step in and be the ones to catch less fortunate as they plummet to the ground.

It is us that must be there for the elderly in our neighborhoods, those that have no family. We must make sure they are fed, housed and looked after – even it’s just a simple visit to have a cup of coffee, to say hello.

It is us that must not look the other way when see that veteran on the street, the one who risked his life for our freedom in a war he neither condoned nor volunteered for. We must show him respect, and with the help of our friends and our neighbors provide those services, the services the government who sent him to war – no longer feels necessary.

It is us that must not let our children, everyone’s children – the future of our society, fall through the cracks because of bureaucratic insensitivity and outright neglect. We must look at each child for the talent they are and the contribution they can make to our community. We must listen, even if they say nothing. We must foresee their needs, even before they actually need them. And when they require that extra guidance or assistance school cannot provide – we must step in and provide that guidance and assistance … that tutoring and mentoring that will transition them to life after school. And we must not discount their views, their opinions and their abilities purely because of discrimination due to their age. For their views are the views of the future, both theirs … and ours.

It is us that must patronize the businesses of our friends and of our neighbors. For without us they would have none – and we will continue to be beholden to the whims and conceit of the corporate elite in their ivory towers of “ill-gotten gains.” It is us that must give the hand-up to Main Street and level the playing for our friends and neighbors that provide the life blood of our community. We can do that with our wallets and our purses, even if means spending an extra dollar or driving an extra mile.

We may wish that with a simple pull of lever in a voting booth, things will be all right. But they won’t be. No matter what their promises or their intentions, no politician will truly have our best interests in mind when it conflicts with the money that put them and keeps them in office. Only we, with help of our friends and neighbors, can be assured that our best interests are protected. I look at this community empowerment as a new generation of societal operandi … an operandi of empowerment we must embrace to survive.

In decades past, neighbors looked after each other, took care of each and their own. But with the proliferation of suburbia, neighborhood relationships waned under the strain geographic stretch. Then came the internet and social networking. Facebook and Twitter became the new defacto neighborhoods. Old friends were reconnected and new ones made, but these friends were not next door, and not available for that cup of coffee or that cup of sugar.

Imagine if we could the combine the neighborhoods of the past and the connectivity and expanse of today to create a new generation of societal support. This new generation, this new lifestyle, I call Community 3.0 – the re-establishment of our neighborhoods, the re-establishment of Main Street. With technology and social media, we, the 99% – can identify and provide the needed support and responsibility our governments have so blatantly chosen to absolve themselves of.

Imagine having a community infrastructure which revolves around social support from its residents and local businesses. Government indifference, whether federal, state or local – will be rendered irrelevant. Those in need would be automatically connected with those who can provide assistance. And with this “cause infused” neighborhood connectivity we can can give our local businesses the marketing and loyalty retention tools to compete favorably with any out-of-town, bloated “ivory tower” corporate goliath.

No time soon will the “powers that be” relinquish the power they’ve tried so hard to acquire. That doesn’t mean all is gloom though. Fighting these adversaries head-on, on a field that they built, will prove to be futile though. But we must still demonstrate in the streets and keep our message front and center in the minds of our converts, present and future. And we must still fight using our social media superiority to re-establish the world on our terms, not there’s.

But ultimately in the end, they are no match for us on our true field … in our neighborhoods, on our Main Streets and most of all – at the tables of our kitchens.

“For … The People have the Power!”

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I can be found on Twitter at @clayforsberg and on Google+

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6 thoughts on ““Community 3.0” … The People Have the Power, Part 3

    1. Matjahu, thanks for the comment. I pulled up the site you referenced and I’m going to delve into it tomorrow. Community empowerment is the only way to stem the every increasing overtaking of our neighborhoods by the corporate “big box stores.”.

  1. Clay, I’ve returned to this post repeatedly. Everything is related; everything relates to community. The inflection point for the cultural transformation we seek will start in communities, connected communities. This will require a level of civic innovation commensurate with what is expected of the private sector. For decades, community development has been the lowest echelon of everything. Now is the time for comm dev to be leading the way forward. We need lots of experimentation and connectivity. No one will save us.

  2. Great thoughts as always. Simply said,”be the change…” You can lead by example and even a small change will make a difference over the long term. Change begins with one action. It is hard not to give up and succumb to the “way it is.” I believe we must keep fighting back for the good of what this country is and was, and the future for our children.

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