Jeez, just enjoy the season, will ya?
Uh, oh. Here we go again. Why do they always have to do this at Christmas time? Especially in front of the kids.
“Don’t you realize that by purchasing blah-blah-blah, blah S”
“Yes, I do realize it, thank you. Now go away.”
“Then how could you …”
“Easy. ‘Tis my money.”
“‘Tis the season of spiritual togetherness, too, as well as the season of blatant hypocrisy, sacrilegious self-righteousness, and the perpetual pursuit of patriotic materialism.”
Here in front of a popular shopping mall, it was time for the negative-laced do-gooders to climb up on their idealistic recycled soapboxes and try to convince all Americans living above their definition of a poverty line to feel guilty about spending money. If not here, they do it wherever a TV news crew is filming or they send letters to editors. They don’t care who listens, as long as somebody hears.
“Your message is old, go away,” I politely suggested.
I have never understood what is wrong with materialism in a democracy backed up by an economic system of capitalism.
“It’s the American democracy and its constitutional pursuit of material goods that’s responsible for the ruination of the planet!”
Wow, silly me. I thought it was just human beings in general causing the damage. I wasn’t even sure if “ruination” was a real word.
“Do you consume your personal vision of happiness with a spoon or a fork?” I asked my tie-dyed friend, who wasn’t old enough to have followed the Grateful Dead but dressed like a groupie anyway.
A simple question, really, implying those with a spoon are incapable of achieving goals on their own, but use of a fork indicates the ability to force ones intentions through the power of self will, determination and hard work.
I informed her democracy uses a fork, and those who really want to carve out a niche for themselves bring along a knife as well. The sharper the better.
“Yeah, but …”
“Spare me the spiritual-philanthropy nonsense of all men being created equal. That applies only at the moment of creation, but from that point forward NO man, or woman, is an absolute equal. Democracy does indeed promote materialism through the success of individual achievement. It is a part of what makes America so wonderful. But if we had no government, there would still only be a few thousand of us hanging around in caves, batting each other over the head for dead giant rabbits while waiting for our teeth to fall out before dying at the ripe old age of 19.”
Her eyes perked up on that one, so I continued.
“The formation of government allowed FOR a group to make authoritative decisions BY a group, for the mutual benefit OF the group. This led to progress, which – thanks to a natural ability to compete – evolved as growth, and takes us to where we are now.
“Wealth is not a disease. Neither is affluence. Man’s desire to improve himself is not a fault, nor is justifying a reason for one’s existence. What family does NOT wish to accumulate wealth for the long-term financial viability of their children?
I was pointing to the throngs of holiday shoppers around us.
“C’mon, get real, there is no such family. Let’s call a spade a spade, shall we? Those who do not – have – wish they did, and would forego their ideological babble the very second they won the lottery, inherited a small fortune, or achieved a certain level of financial success through hard work and luck.
“If you want to sit up on your high horse and claim to be different – fine, just quit babbling incessantly to me and the other Christmas shoppers about it. Stop trying to make me feel guilty about buying a doughnut because a child is starving in Iraq.
“But I …”
“If I want to spend $2,000 on a new fridge to store extra doughnuts, that’s my choice, not yours. If I want to send $2,000 to the Feed The Children Doughnuts Foundation instead or in addition to, that is also my choice, not yours.”
“But so many people are suffering!”
“Wow, thanks for the insight.” I then let her know that I was tired of being told to feel shame for possessing an item unobtainable to another five billion or so individuals, sick of being blasted in the face by puritanical self-righteous twits who insist their way is the only way (Islam, anyone?), and fed up with left-wingnuts who persist in their pursuit to portray all Americans as greedy, self-indulgent, jerks who don’t give a damn about the planet or its resources.
I then gave her permission to take the first boat east or west, and I offered to make a donation.
She finally turned and stomped away, my goal from the beginning.
It would be wonderful if we lived in a peaceful world where everyone loved one another and nobody starved or ever became sick.
We would sit around a giant campfire every night, holding hands and singing Koom-By-Yaa while sharing grapes. Of course, no one would actually pick the grapes, as that would imply separatism. The fruit would simply appear whenever needed.
But such a fantasy world does not, nor will ever, exist.
Christmas is a time for giving, but you cannot give without having someone receive.
And besides, we all know down deep Christmas is for the kids more than anything else. For Christ’s sake, let them enjoy it.
Take a break from thinking we can solve the world’s problems by momentarily stopping the imperial threat of capitalism.
It’s a big, bad evil world out there, and none of us truly knows what the future holds.
Sure, let’s help our children plan for the future, but let’s also let them enjoy the present, or in this case, the presents.
Life is short enough as it is and Christmas comes but once a year. Stop trying to ruinate it.
Richard Carnes of Edwards can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org