Even though, I abhor war and believe that, instead of jumping to the Empire’s foregone conclusion, that the solution to every man-made problem is war, at least up until the US’s War OF Terror, the nation, more or less, had a shared sacrifice.
During World War II, we still hear about people with the last name of Bush, Kennedy, and Roosevelt, fighting—whether the tales of “heroism” were grossly exaggerated, or not.
Even up to Vietnam, the draft was pervasive, even though people like Cheney got deferments and people like Bush got cushy assignments—which he apparently never had to report for.
All the wars have a class-based sacrifice attached to them, but never so apparent as now.
During the First and Second World Wars, those who weren’t serving in the armed forces, were asked to put the war effort first, before travel and other wasteful activities, but today, we are reminded to “shop.”
I am seriously ashamed to be living in the same country where people are pepper-sprayed, not only by the police state, but also by fellow shoppers who are apparently engaging in what is now being called: “Competitive shopping!” There is a militant uprising in Egypt where citizens are being killed standing up for what they believe in, but here in the US, today on Bloody Friday, “consumers” (empire-speak for “citizen”) riot over $2 Waffle Irons at Walmart.
The Great Walmart Waffle Iron Riot of 2011
Recently, I was in Cuba, and while basic needs are usually met (food, shelter, clothing, education), there is not a whole lot of cheap consumer crap to riot over. In fact, the entire country looks like a “car show” here in the states, with all of the US cars made in the ‘50’s are on the road and still in good working condition.
While I was there, I learned that Cubans even recycle and reuse “disposable” lighters. It is a concept that we who live in a “disposable” society can’t quite wrap our minds around!
Also, while I was in Cuba, I left my iPod Touch in the seat pocket of a plane I rode in (was that trip necessary?) from Havana to Holguin. Crap! I mostly use my iPod when I am running on a treadmill, or flying, to listen to music or audiobooks to alleviate the boredom. My iPod is backed up on my computer, so I didn’t lose any of the aps or music, but the iPod Touch retails itself for about $200.
So, looking at my life with the lens of the feeding frenzy of consumerism, I have to ask myself: “Self, is this purchase necessary?” Was it necessary when I made it the first time? Yes, iPods are definitely cool, but I know that the parts and especially foreign labor costs don’t add up to $200. I have decided that this purchase is not necessary—even though, in the climate where I run, there are about two months where it’s not too hot, too cold, or too pollenish to run outside.
Corporate profit is indeed a huge problem in our society, but so is this ravenous consumerism that 99% of the 99% revel in. If we could break the cycle of exploitation that not only builds the crap, but also makes us believe that we can’t live without it, no profound change will occur.
I guess this is what we call, “Preaching to the choir,” because I believe that just about everyone who reads this is in solidarity with this message—but, really, take a quick look around, like I do occasionally, and ask yourself if you are living the “American Dream,” or the “Nightmare.”