I’ve been thinking a lot about this piece Rich Brooks wrote last week
How We Are Ruining America
I’ve added this book he references in his piece to my reading list
Dream Hoarders How the American Upper Middle Class Is Leaving Everyone Else in the Dust, Why That Is a Problem, and What to Do about It
It strikes me how far out of alignment people are. That they’re not, walking the walk.
Liberals. They complain about inequality. But then they practice segregation, by sending their kids to charter or private schools. They’re concerned with climate change, but they won’t make any attempts to stop eating meat or dairy, which is responsible for more CO2 emissions then tail pipe emissions. They ski at resorts that are funding climate change deniers. They claim to be about the little guy. But when they buy something their only concern is cost. Their loyalty is to cost, not a brand. Their evaluation of a business has nothing to do with the practices of the business — it’s all to do, with cost. They live in gated or zoned communities, essentially building bigger walls.
Look no further for liberal hypocrisy then Aspen, right up the road from me. They come in private jets, live in giant houses with heated driveways. Their carbon footprint is the size of a small town. Most in Aspen would say they’re against war and support women’s rights. Do people who ski Aspen know they are supporting arms sales to Saudi Arabia? Don’t they know that Saudi’s behead women for wearing miniskirts? The owners of Aspen are the Crown family, one of the largest stock holders in General Dynamics. General Dynamics is selling $13 Billion in tanks to the Saudis who are destroying Yemen. Both General Dynamics and the Crowns are big donors to the Aspen Institute, a Neoliberal Foreign Intervention think thank. I can’t believe that the smart people who visit and live in Aspen would want to ignore this, but they do. Each year they’re so proud of the Aspen Ideas Festival. The Aspen Ideas Festival amounts to nothing more than a celebration of those who speak and attend. Aspen people even go as far as making films about themselves, such as How We Grow. In this film they claim they’re making a difference, by growing organic food. But when you ask the film makers how their food makes its way to those not so well off, they’ll say it’s trickle down, a tenet of Republican governing. Yet these same liberals will tell you in another conversation, how bad the Republicans are.
Conservatives. They claim to be about personal responsibility, but are against abortion. They’re moral. Yet 80% of all self-avowed evangelicals voted for Trump, a man who’s anything but moral. They complain about Obamacare and entitlements — takers. Yet people in the South, who overwhelmingly vote Republican, receive a disproportionate amount of federal aid. Reliably Republican states have the highest obesity rates, the leading cause of healthcare expenditures. The #1 indexed phrase in the Bible is “help the poor”. But what do conservatives do to help the poor? It seems to me, all they do is complain about them.
Everyone is addicted to social media and their devices. This addiction has and will lead us to place where a handful of companies control our lives. Monopolies are not, good for us. They’re antithetical of a healthy society.
Everything we do has some sort of violence, or is seemingly in conflict with a value. When we drive we pollute, when we live in communities with zoning restrictions or that are hard for minorities to live in, we’re building walls we vowed to tear them down. When we send our children to charter or private schools, we’re practicing segregation, even though we’re self avowed liberals. When we wear clothing that signifies a certain way of living then live our lives each day in a manner that doesn’t reflect at all on the clothing we wear, our only connection to our clothing is material. When we stop for comfort food we’re hurting ourselves and our neighbors.
But we can also do everything we can to live our lives in alignment with our beliefs. If we care about the planet, we can take meaningful action daily, such as stop eating meat and dairy. We can t think carefully about each dollar we spend — buying from our neighbors, or companies that demonstrate responsibility. We can volunteer in public schools. We can wear Khadi. We can fight for open communities and work to tear down walls. We can take care of ourselves and our neighbors, by only eating food that we know the source, that’s grown locally. We can hire the disenfranchised, or those down on their luck. We can divest, set boundaries and not cross them. Some of these boundaries will be uncomfortable. I’ve said over and over here how I’m a ski bum. But I can live without skiing. I’m considering giving up skiing at Aspen, Vail, and any other area that’s out of alignment with my beliefs. We’re addicted to Amazon, we know it’s wrong. I’m considering selling our Audi, getting an electric car. These are changes I can make, that I can do. If not, then I’m not doing anything to separate myself from what I’m calling attention to.
I’ll be adding to this post. But I wanted to get it up, because it’s been on my mind. The path forward to strong communities is to start living in alignment with our values.
Daniel Berrigan said, “Know where you stand and stand there”. It’s way past time, for us to follow his words.
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