Damn You Joe!
Every time I start feeling good about the small steps I’m taking to become a better world citizen, consume less, trade in my car for one that runs on biodiesel, educate myself about both the history of this country’s exploits as well as the one’s that are ongoing, silly little things like that, I go and read Joe Bageant (one of my favorite American writers alive and at it today) and I have to face the fact that I’m still a bigger part of the problem than I can ever rectify with “lifestyle changes” and knowledge of the facts. I would hate him for it, if I didn’t know in my heart that he’s right.
Certainly we should do all we can as individuals to reduce our consumption, pay attention to what happens outside our borders and fight to make sure that we have representatives in D.C. that don’t make matters worse by raping the rest of the world in the name of American supremacy, but that is literally just the tip of the iceberg, the real problems extend miles beneath the surface.
The core of who we are, as a country and as individuals that have grown up with the advantages we have, is what must be challenged, and that is simply too painful a process for most of us to take on in the serious and sustained way necessary to really solve our global problems. Make them better, yes, but solve them outright, not so much.
So I encourage you, if you haven’t already, to read “Thank Heaven for 7-Eleven: Democracy rots from the inside out” by Joe Bageant. He’s great at giving it to us straight with no chaser, but the burn of the truth is soothed by the colorfulness of his words.