Friday, November 28, 2008

The Altar of Consumerism

Today is black Friday here in the US. It is the day when people wake at ridiculous hours to rush out to stores (some by 4am) to get that extra special deal. I heard one commentator this week say that Black Friday was capitalism at its best. I say it is consumerism at its height. On this day people will place themselves further in debt. Credit cards will be maxed out, and bank accounts pushed to their limits, all in the name of almighty stuff.

Most of the people who are going out to buy today do not need any of the stuff they are buying. People in our community who are really in need will not be found at the stores this morning. They will not be pushing and shoving to get the best deal on a flat screen TV. They will be doing what they do everyday, trying to figure out where then meal for the day is coming from. When I think about it in those terms, I am almost embarrassed by the stuff I have.

In a country full of irony, yesterday we celebrated thankfulness. Some celebrated the stuff they have, others celebrated the people and relationships. No matter what we paused to be thankful for, the pause by and large is over, and the race for more and better stuff is on. We as Americans continue to complicate our lives with the desire to acquire. Some day I hope I learn and others learn to simplify. Then the words of Gandhi will ring true, live simply so that others may simply live.

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