consumerism and capitalism: are they the same

There are days and times in our lives when we feel so misunderstood that we would like to remove ourselves from the human race and go back to swimming with the alligators.  Those were the days, back early in evolution when the only thing that you needed to worry about was moving the fragile alligator egg from being too exposed in the sun to a nice shallow spot in the water from where it could hatch and swim away going about its business.

No on-going worries, no strife about did I do it right, did I make sure the egg was properly buried?  Or, oh, my god, what if I did not love this egg enough…..on and on and on ad infinitum.

I bore myself with the question of am I enough. Today, no spiritual dynamics–

So, in that light, periodically I turn my attention to politics because there, I am convinced that there are plenty of opportunities to be as angered as I want about the plight of our United States.  For example, dear Mr, now that is a specimen of a fine human being…He has no trouble telling it like it is, like he sees it…He hopes that this country fails and falls flat on it’s red and blue faces so that the democrats who currently have the white house can be blamed for the fiascos of the last thirty years.  I like that telling it like it is.  In regards to helping the people hit by the earthquake he stood right up for all Americans…”We’ve already donated to Haiti,” Limbaugh told the caller on his radio show. “It’s called the U.S. income tax.” Good for you Rush–we will send the money to you so that you can take another vacation at a drug rehab center…Well, with talk show hosts like that who needs politicians to be angered by.

But it does bring up to my mind the loss of American Values.  I think, my view is that values have been hijacked by the titans of Wall Street and the Lords of Pennsylvania Avenue.  In both case we have a host of corrupt valueless people for who public service is just another word for “grab as much as you can and the heck with the other guy” mentality.

It is not really a particular political party that has us held up.  One party may be somewhat more cleaver than the other–you can decide for yourself which one that is, but regardless of the party of current power, the morality is about getting a job and hanging on to it.  Truth is of rare consequence in politics.  Power is the motivational key.

Who hijacked the American Value?  Who among us failed to fight for the right to up-hold the American Truth.Where is Superman?  Where is this fellow or gal that can leap tall buildings and stand for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Frankly, I could care less if he is a democrat or a republican, but what I do care about is that he or she is not cowardly in the face of corporate lobbying politics.

When I hear people say that they do not want government between them and their doctor, my response is always, but is it o.k. to have corporate giants between you and your doctor?  Is a gatekeeping health maintenance organization a better option?  Do you want to hear about unfair?  I  seem to be both simultaneously angry & passive about the condition of our democracy.

A government that i trusted to protect me gave all my money away to help big banks not to fail.  Then when it came time for those big banks to help the economy, they were entirely too greedy–kept all the profits, gave billions in bonuses and left us all to deal with upside down mortgages, trillions in deficit, & gave the health insurances a sweetheart deal as a Christmas Present.  Wow that inspires about as much confidence as “hedge -betting” funds.  I heard a congressman recently asking a banker about hedge funds and he had this to say.  Hedge funds are about as smart as an auto mechanic selling a car with bad brakes to a customer then taking out an insurance policy on the customer so he can collect when the car fails to break.

That was very un-fair of them…unfair not as a democrat might have thought that a republicanthat was un-fair.  But rather un-fair in the way that one might consider morality rather than legality as the bench mark for how we operate as a society and a government.  When we speak of banks and insurance giants as too big to fail we are talking about goliath — a spider big enough to eat a bird.

When this economic crisis is over and the dow-jones has returned the billions to the billionaires, 30% of the population will have lost their homes, retirements, health insurances and cars as well as their retirements and their dignity. Right now many are homeless and even more are unemployed in an economy that is said to be returning to normal, despite the fact that the high unemployment rate will not change for decades, if ever..

While the democrats had the watch, and two houses of congress were run by the democratic majority, we none the less, we the middle class, got thrown under the bus.  What are now the American Values that will save at the very least our dignity? I think we are left to our own devices and as a result of that we will be seeing many, many Tea Pots and Tea Parties.  We will be seeing, as one conservative put it on the air recently, soap boxes and bullet boxes…When questioned about what he meant he responded by proudly saying that the sale of arms in this country was way up and that a revolution may well be on its way…

This same conservative spoke of replacing the American flag with an old American Revolutionary Flag with the number “2” sewn in to indicate the 2nd great american revolution. Where are we as a nation..?

We are not a group of socialist fighting a group of capitalist…we are a middle class being swallowed up in total valueless greed, swallowed up by selfishness….and undisciplined regulations that at best appear to place some restrictions, while in the long run-giving more that free reign to the drivers of our economic bus…

The economic crisis is a spiritual crisis at every level of our economy…from the deep cynicism and skepticism of the very hopeless poor, to the new disenfranchised middle class who have lost their life earnings….and are sadly, rapidly loosing any hope of returning to the American Dream.  Consumerism has failed capitalism.  It has tricked the capitalist into believing that we could go from a nation that manufactured most of the worlds goods to a nation who bought.

In the process as a society we bought into the idea that capitalism was the same as consumerism.  It is not and we are the proof.  Where we are in the world today–not where the fat-cats of wall street are, but where we are the residents of main street–we are the proof that consumerism and capitalism are not the same thing…


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