Is this who we are?
Yesterday, as I watched the near constant reports about Black Friday and weekend shopping, I tried to make sense of the whole concept. Spending Thanksgiving night in a cold Wal-Mart parking lot trying to be the first to get your hands on a crap $300 laptop seems, well, crazy to me. The National Retail Federation said that they expect 133 million people to shop this weekend. Compare that to the 120 million people who voted in the last presidential election, according to MSNBC. Are more people concerned with owning a sweet 42" flat-screen TV than choosing our nation's leader, the person who makes decisions that affect our jobs and healthcare, our kids' educations, our safety, our wallets, our retirements, our place in the whole world?
Then it occurred to me, we are a nation of addicts. We use "drugs" to suppress and avoid emotional pain, to avoid dealing with bad stuff, like war, poverty, our eroding freedoms, the failures of our education system. Our drugs of choice? Food, super-sized and fried; gossip, the more lurid the better; and shopping, the latest gadget, the must-have toy, another "0" to add to our mounting debt. As our situation grows worse, we get fatter, more brain fried, further in the red and less able to challenge the powers that be. We become like lambs to the slaughter.
Because while we bury our heads in new stuff, fast food and TMZ.com, the FCC is moving to make it easier for conglomerates to own more of our local media; mercenaries are gunning down Iraqi citizens and endangering our troops; lax standards that benefit big business have made our country safe for dangerous toys; Bush appointees at the United States Post Office may stamp out small, independent media. I could go on.
You see, while we avoid the bad stuff, someone is paying attention. And some of those someones are intent to help themselves by taking away things that really are important to our lives, while we sit in the mall parking lot, reading US magazine, sipping a Big Gulp and waiting for the stores to open.
The Field Negro has a great post that asks Who Will Televise the Revolution? Of course, I ask who will watch it, lead it or participate in it, if we are all consumed with the diversions above?