In response to Chris Hedges’ “Careerists” editorial on TruthDig today (07/23/12), I let out my “inner Pogo” http://www.truthdig.com/report/page3/the_careerists_20120723/
The only humans who are not contributing to the circumstances of economic and social destruction are the people who are already suffering from the consequences of those of us who are. At the risk of sounding like a Republican, I think, given half a chance, those poor souls would become willing consumers and in turn, conscious or unconscious destroyers themselves.
Chris Hedges says, “The greatest crimes of human history are made possible by the most colorless human beings.”
It’s true, the world’s spin cycle has washed the brightest hues of humanity from most of us. In real life, we are easily overwhelmed and obviously over-washed.
It’s not just the bureaucrats and cynics–we all “do the little chores that make vast, complicated systems of exploitation and death a reality.”
We all contribute, in ways small or large, to a planet hell-bent on hurtling itself toward self-destruction. The complexity of modern life has obscured the cause and effect of simpler times, when losing a crop meant starvation, and when the mistakes could be attributed to a limited population…these days, buying a product that was advertised on TV during a Penn State football game could be considered ‘contributory’ to the culture that supported a monster.
There is incredible danger to finger-pointing, Mr. Hedges, unless one is looking in the mirror while flagging the finger.
Does Hedges have a computer or car or TV made by oppressed workers far offshore? Did he use fossil fuels on the way to work today or consume a Monsanto-modified food? Is his classy casual shirt crafted by well-paid workers, crafted from unbleached, vegetable-dyed cotton? Did Chris step over a homeless person on the way to work today?
Anyone who consents to paying taxes knowingly feeds the beast. The behemoth has about 20 million government-paid heads in the USA alone. Sharpen your sword, Chris–and break your accountant’s pencil.
Our choices are few: worry, or shrug, or go nuts.
The soulless bureaucrats exist so Chris can opine and I can shine: because I cannot support myself as a writer, I am a jeweler, a purveyor of one of life’s little luxuries. All my diamond cutters and importers signed the anti-blood-diamond Kimberley Accord, every one of them.
I recycle gold, I sell estate diamonds, I donate to charities and walk to work.
I still understand that my actions breed suffering. The Kimberly Accord has huge flaws. The man-made soles on my ergonomic shoes may have destroyed an aquifer in China. The environmentally disastrous proposed Pebble mine in Alaska may be an indirect result of my counseling folks to diversify from paper investments.
I just hope that little acts of kindness and charity mask the moderate evil I abet.
At a time when we need to recognize our own contributions to destruction, to bridge gaps and build coalitions, let’s not make the bureaucrats throw more paper covers over their sins. Instead, pass out Freedom of Information Act forms outside Wall Street firms, raise money and strengthen statutes for whistleblowers, force companies to pay fines, and vote with your dollars. But forgive yourself, at least a little, for not being chased by a despot or starving on the fringes of a desert, or dying from a preventable disease.
All Chris Hedges would have to do for me is a quick re-edit to his TruthDig column today. Just change THEY to WE, and THEM to US.
Just because we’re part of the problem doesn’t mean we can’t mean a little something to the cure.