Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Evening Rant

The Patriot is tired. Tired of the lack of passion in the citizenry and tired of Americans replacing their sense of righteousness and equity with shiny things and rich food. Where are the pioneers of labor and the tireless advocates of justice? Where are the Joe Hills and the Dorothy Days? Where is the IWW and the spirit of the collective? Have we become so anesthetized by our television, cell phones and computers that we are incapable of feeling the pain of the other? Americans have let the notion of individualism overcome their natural tendency to compassion. We are so insulated in our cocoon of wealth and privilege that we cannot conceptualize the suffering that the Middle East and Africa experience as normal on a daily basis. Does it ever occur to anyone that the result of the world rising to the American standard of living means that the world’s resources would be exhausted within a generation? In order for the world to survive, Americans need to learn to make do with less. This means embracing a fundamental shift in what it means to be an American. Limitless opportunity was a grand concept when we were a struggling country shaking off the constraints of European monarchy with thousands of miles of land at our fingertips. As the 300 millionth American is born there is little talk of sacrifice and belt tightening. No one is asking Americans to sacrifice for anything; not for the war and not for the future of the planet. Simplicity and frugality are thought to be quaint relics of a bygone age and anyone who advocates them is ironically considered to be Anti-American. As I write this the TV is blaring in the background and the people in my living room are sunk into the couch watching a meaningless sports game with eyes glazed over and energy being sapped from their bodies. Is this the benefit of modern technology? Endless distraction and wasted time? A study came out yesterday which linked excessive television watching to autism in children; I can only wonder what it does to adults. It is a palliative, not unlike the morphine prescribed to unhappy housewives in the 19th century. And what is the message the One Eye beams into the living room hour after hour? Buy. Consume. Use. Drink. Forget.

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