America Can Rise Again (but not until we shut off our TVs)

Posted: December 14, 2012 in Uncategorized

Things like today are beyond sad. There really are no words to describe how awful this is. The only thing I can say – and maybe it’s too soon for this, I dunno – is that this isn’t a gun problem, it’s a cultural problem. Our culture has become obsessed with consumption to the point of hoarding. So many of us are willing to leave our families on a major holiday of thanks and instead spend it standing in crowded and chaotic lines to buy TVs and video games and all sorts of completely unimportant things. We fight each other to crash through the doors, trample each other on our way down the aisles, grab our prized TVs like conquering vikings, bring them home and then sit in front of them with our mouths wide open and our doors slammed shut.

In our lust for these goods we become increasingly suspicious that someone out there is coming for us. That there are groups of people who want to take away our freedom to sit and slobber. The TV does a great job of stoking that fear with night after night of “news” that’s a lot less news and a lot more “what’s new in paranoia”. Do bad things happen? Of course. But waaayyyy more amazing and beautiful things are happening every day. The problem with that is advertisers aren’t willing to pay as much for shows that make you happy. They know that a scared audience is an audience that’ll buy anything; shitty fast food, over sugared soda, bigger TVs, stronger locks, and smarter phones. WE are guilty. This is OUR problem. We have become a collective of consumers rather than a culture of humans. We have devolved.

We need to step away from all of this. We need to put stuff in its proper place. I have a flat screen. I have a Playstation. I have a smartphone. I’m of the same world. What I’m advocating isn’t that we throw all these things away and become vegans roaming the hillsides singing “Kumbaya”. I happen to like my smartphone very much. I’m instead advocating that we make a concerted effort to develop meaningful relationships with our neighbors.

It seems that we as a culture have lost sight of why we’re truly here. Having lost sight of that, things like today in CT happen. We’re not here to get a great deal on a TV. Life instead has a very simple purpose. We’re each here to leave the world in a slightly better place than we found it. We can start by reaching out to our neighbors. Getting to know them. Understanding them. Letting them understand us. When we do that, we won’t need more guns, more security, or armed guards on school grounds. We’ll know who the people are that need help and we will have already offered them the help they need.

We can choose to sink deeper into our working class/middle class apathy and paranoia or we can see that WE have the power to reshape the way we interact each other.

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