December 09, 2006

Neverminds never mind, ever

As anyone can see from a quick trip through my archives, I'm not much of a blogger. When I'm not grandstanding and patting myself on the back, I'm ranting and railing against the hypocrisy and injustice that serves so very well to keep the rich getting richer, push the middle class slowly and irresolutely into poverty, and keep the peasants feeling like peasants.

Before we get rolling this morning, let me warn you ahead of time that today's entry is not global-friendly. Today I am talking straight to my fellow Americans. If you are not a citizen of the United States of America, or if you feel America is too strong and needs to be brought down a few notches, then this entry is going to make you very, very angry.

Now then, let us begin:

My fellow Americans, it is not government policy that is eroding the moral and economic fabric of the United States of America, or at least, that is not the main problem. No, the real reason America is now a second-class nation and is irretrievably headed into third-world status is something far more sinister, far more difficult to change, and garaunteed to prevent this once great nation from reversing course: the problem is you.

You, whoever you are, wherever you are, and whatever it is you are now doing. You are the problem.

There is, however, something you can do about it. The first thing you can do is take a step back from your life a bit and rethink every choice you have made since you got up this morning. Let's start with your morning coffee, or tea, or juice, or whatever it is you were drinking.

Where was the plant that produced it grown? Do you even know? What kind of plant did it come from? Or was it milk? Did it come from a cow or goat? If so, where was that animal bred? Where was it raised? Where was its milk taken from it and how was it taken?

If you don't know the answer to these questions, then you really need to find out. Hawaii, for example, produces some of the finest coffee in the world. If you buy Hawaiian coffee you will keep hundreds of Americans working and paying taxes. Purchasing genuine, unblended Kona coffee will support American transportation workers, American packaging plant workers, American farm workers, and American retailers. Your personal tax burden will be lessened because it will be shared by hundreds of other people rather than a few dozen.

On the other hand, if you bought Rain Forest coffee of some kind from Starbucks, or Folgers, or Maxwell House, or some supposedly "helping the world's poor" psuedo-charitable source, then you have just cut down half an acre of primitive jungle, reduced the moisture curtain that brings rain to American farmland, added wealth to the bank accounts of an oppressive dictatorship disguised as a democracy, and increased your tax burden by eliminating American jobs and shipping them to Columbia, Malaysia, India, China, and half a dozen other countries.

Imagine the difference you could make just by changing your morning coffee! Now multiply that difference by every single decision you make as you go through your day. The hamburger you buy for lunch might be 100% American beef, or it might be 90% Mexican, Canadian, Australian, or even European beef. Do you know? Do you even know how to find out?

The gasoline you put into your car, where does it come from? From Venezuela which is run by a man dedicated to reviving an empire spanning the northern half of South America? Or is it from Brazil, which is dedicated to researching, developing and deploying environmentally friendly alternatives? Is it from Saudi Arabia, perhaps? An ancient aristocracy that prohibits the vast majority of their women from receiving an education, working in public, and walking around town without male escorts? Does it come from Alaska where the tax revenues it generates feeds poor American families, or from Iran where the tax revenues it generates is buying the means to produce a military intended to build a continent-spanning empire dedicated to eliminating democracy and establishing a primitive legal code requiring a woman to be stoned if she commits adultery?

The electricity that powers your house, the bread you serve with dinner, the chemicals that keep your lawn fresh and green, every single purchase you make has a direct and immediate impact on your ability to preserve or improve your current lifestyle and create a stable future for your children.

Think about these things. Don't buy something just because it's on sale, sold at Costco, or advertised on your favorite television show. Learn where it's made, who made it, and how the money you are spending on it will be used.

Your future depends on it, and so does mine.