The Devolving of Christmas: An American Tragedy
By now everyone has seen it on the news, streamed it on the Internet, or read about it somewhere, probably an advertisement of one kind or another. It’s that time of year again, the launch of the holiday shopping season when people by the millions will spend an average of $700.00 each between now and December 24th on a bunch of cheap imported Chinese crap that nobody really needs. The worst part is that all these inexpensive imported products from the sweat shops of the 3rd world are designed and manufactured in such a way as to make sure the items wear out sooner rather than later in the hopes that the American consumer will solve that little problem by going out and buying a replacement, hopefully sooner rather than later. The giant US multinational corporations have figured out that if you make a product just good enough to hold out for a little while, you can still get people to buy it even though it is made as cheaply as possible. Unfortunately for these same monster corporations, the American consumer has begun to wake up to the way they have been had, and they’re furious about it. Their fury and rage has manifested itself in the form of the Occupy Movement and the “We Are the 99%” movement, and these two movements will continue to build over the winter months, and when spring arrives – look out because there will most definitely be protests in the streets on a scale not seen in a very long time. The Arab Spring of 2011 will morph into the American Spring of 2012.
All I’m saying is that people everywhere have become opposed to capitalism due to its predatory nature and its emphasis of profits over people. The Christmas shopping season is a symptom of capitalism, and the mad dash to acquire more and more material things just for the sake of additional possessions at a time when we are supposed to be quietly celebrating the birthday of our Lord and Savior Jesus is indicative of a society that has lost their sense of direction and lost touch with their purpose for being. I was one of millions of people who boycotted Black Friday last week as a way to peacefully protest being forced to live in a world where the main thing that matters most seems to be how much money one can make. I’ve been there and done all that. I owned a computer store all through the 1990’s and made a 6-figure income. I know what it’s like to have all that, and do you know what I found out about wealth and riches? It’s just a big trap, a never-ending treadmill of the pursuit of profits until it consumes your whole life, until in the end you realize that it was all just an illusion. Like a game of Monopoly, when the profit machine comes to an end (and sooner or later they all do) and the game is over, everything goes back in the box only to start all over again. That’s all capitalism and the taking of profits is – one big Monopoly game where the person with the most money wins. Is it any wonder that capitalism has ruined the spirit of Christmas? The following Internet posting is one I just saved recently that has this same train of thought, and it is a brief but powerful expose of how the birth of Christ has been eclipsed by an orgy of material gain. I now present this timely posting without further comment.
Ain’t This America: The Psychopathology of Consumerism
By Burl Hall, November 30, 2011
The Psychopathology of Consumerism: What have we become? Like cattle headed to slaughter, we roll out at this time of the year at the bidding of shop-till- you-drop gimmicks.
Meanwhile, we fight and claw for the raw deal at the various suburban box stores offering low wages and no benefits to staff. So, how much can we save on that blouse or vest for Sally and Sam? WalterMart is offering 25% off, while SearingSnoocks is offering 30%. Let’s run to SearingSnoocks! It’s only 30 more miles down the road and we’ve got the gas! What about the Chinese girls slaving in non union factories at pennies a day? What do they make off the deal? Who is actually winning? Is it really the mesmerized consumer teary and googly-eyed while giggling gleefully at 30, 40, and 50% off deals?
“Oh,” the Politicians and WallyMart heads say, “it’s the American workers.” Yes, it is our right to slave part time at minimum wages and no health benefits while we shop till we drop looking for that fantastic deal.” We make this statement as employees of corporations are lining the pockets of senators, congressmen and supreme-court justices in Washington D.C. while sitting on presidential cabinets making decisions regarding our planet’s future, our future, and our children’s future.
Meanwhile our consumerism is devouring the planet into what might soon become more lifeless than the moon or, Goddess and God forbid, a Wall Street Tycoon. Yet, mesmerized by commercials with intelligence levels less than a jackass after having a brain amputation, we roll blindly into the gates of the shopping centers turned shopping malls turned humongous big box stores. To share with you what brought out this little speech, consider the following release from the Associated Press.
“A shopper in Los Angeles pepper-sprayed her competition for an Xbox and scuffles broke out elsewhere around the United States as bargain-hunters crowded malls and big-box stores in an earlier-than-usual start to the madness known as Black Friday. For the first time, chains such as Target, Best Buy and Kohl’s opened their doors at midnight on the most anticipated shopping day of the year. Toys R Us opened for the second straight year on Thanksgiving itself. And some shoppers arrived with sharp elbows. On Thanksgiving night, a Walmart in Los Angeles brought out a crate of discounted Xboxes, and as a crowd waited for the video game players to be unwrapped, a woman fired pepper spray at the other shoppers “in order to get an advantage,” police said. Ten people suffered cuts and bruises in the chaos, and 10 others had minor injuries from the spray, authorities said. The woman got away in the confusion, and it was not immediately clear whether she got an Xbox. On Friday morning, police said, two women were injured and a man was charged after a fight broke out at an upstate New York Walmart. And a man was arrested in a scuffle at a jewelry counter at a Walmart in Kissimmee, Fla. In the U.S., Wal-Mart, the world’s biggest retailer, has taken steps in recent years to control its Black Friday crowds following the 2008 death of one of its workers in a stampede of shoppers. This year, it staggered its door-buster deals instead of offering them all at once.”
— The Associated Press, Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 26, 2011 A24
Lennon and McCartney of the Beatles wrote in the song “Revolution”, “you say you want a revolution, well you know, we’d all love to change your head.” Yes, it is more than changing Wall Street. It is, ultimately, about changing ourselves. This Christmas, change how you celebrate. Speak from your heart to your kids about consumerism and how it is affecting the planet as well as our behavior. Instead of buying your wife a new nightgown, give her your heart through sweet words of affection. Instead of buying your husband a new bag of golf clubs, give him a night he will never forget.
Be creative, be-loving. Enjoy each other. To enjoy is to enjoin, to enjoin is to unite. Consumerism keeps us isolated by gimmicks of sensationalist advertising of beautiful women, perfect children and gorgeous hunks of men that are created off the corporate mold. And who is being molded in all this advertising gimmicks? You!. For what purpose? To make others rich. Don’t go there this year. Find richness in your heart and share that this Christmas.