Monday, February 1, 2010

Damn Wealth

“I'll build heaven and call it home
'Cause you're all dead now
I live with my justice
I live with my greedy need
I live with no mercy
I live with my frenzied feeding
I live with my hatred
I live with my jealousy
I live with the notion
That I don't need anyone but me”
-Don’t Drink The Water, Dave Matthews Band

I hate capitalism and wish it ill. Yesterday in Rona was an epiphany moment in regards to the evil(s) of our country. January 31 was the last day to purchase things for your home reno tax credit and as a result there were all sorts of people in Rona. The atmosphere almost made me vomit. On the one hand there were people who waited till the last hour of the last day and expected everything they wanted to be right there. Some lady who came in at 5:30 (we close at 6:00) was looking for some vinyl flooring she saw at another store and was freaking out because we didn't have it. Her teenage daughter who was clearly embarrassed by her mother asked, "Mom, why don't we just get it tomorrow?" The mother's angry response was in regards to the last day for the tax credit. I had two internal responses 1) Why do you have to be a bitch and 2) Why would you wait till you only had 30 minutes left and why wouldn't you go to the store where you know they had it? Capitalism breeds idiots.

But the thing that really got me was the people who came in casually and bought up thousands of dollars of flooring and had no concern for when they got it, dropping comments like "I don't even really need it I just want the tax credit." So many people had this attitude. I wanted to slap them and tell them that they should stop being such “selfish assholes”, donate some money to something like relief in Haiti and get some tax credit that way. I am pretty sure most people don't max that out on their tax forms (not that your tax for should dictate if you need to be donating money).

This is our society though. Despite being "democratic" we are far from the original vision of democracy when the idea was a society in which the voice of the people was heard and those people were cared for. No, our democracy feeds the few who have full bellies and expands their kingdoms all the while those within our own society and those outside of it with empty bellies remain hungry and their kingdoms continue to shrink. We are so driven by capital, by the possession of objects and money that life has become first about the individual. There is no communal vision.

The heart of our society is just like the voice expressed by my man Dave Matthews in Don’t Drink the Water. It is a voice of greed and self-expansion at the cost of others. It is a voice that has killed mercy and created some perverse version of justice based upon revenge. It is a hungry voice that is jealously hungering for more despite the cost of that food. Do we not see that our choice to spend a couple of thousand dollars on flooring that will reside in our basements for months means those who are really in need don’t receive that money? Our history of colonialism destroyed lives and cultures, creating countries that are impoverished and now we spend money on expanding our personal kingdoms (as opposed to our kingdom) instead of seeking to assist those which we have ruined.
The present situation of countries like the Congo are intimately tied to the West. Do we not get that we have blood on our hands and the longer we continue in this way of life the more blood we get on our hands? Do we forget that an earthquake has destroyed Haiti? That lives have been lost? Do we forget of the destruction that has occurred through storms and quakes? Do we forget the death and destruction that has occurred through human hands? Most likely the hardwood flooring purchased yesterday will remain in people’s memories much longer than Haiti.

Not only have I missed church multiple weeks in a row for work, and my employers continual inability to follow through on promises of Sundays off, but now I have participated in helping people spend ridiculous amounts of money on things which the majority of them, through their own confessions, do not even need. Now there is blood on my hands. I wish that it was simply mud on my palms but sadly they are covered in blood. Let your Kingdom come Father and end this bloody society for I don’t know of any escape from it except through your Kingdom. I am tiered of having blood on my hands.


cody anderson said...

We are a dillusional people Greg, hold to these truths and proclaim a different way of living.... Damn wealth doesn't seem to be the problem in your post, it seems to be the damn selfishness that blinds one from being able to meet a need in another

Mark said...

We need to read Milbank and Zizek together when you get back to Winnipeg. Or as Zizek would say, "Zuo bastids of phony bullshitz liberalz democraciz can shuck itz."

The Amazing Mr Rae said...

I sort of agree with Cody. The fact is people are just terrible. Left to our own vices, we will always put ourselves first. People are terribly short sighted when it comes to the consequences of their actions and have no real investment in anyone else. And why should they? Without a grander view of how we are interconnected to the humankind community, we will only see ourselves.

Also, I'm pretty sure you're a commie and I'm going to turn you in.

EnimabagJones said...

This post (among others) fails miserably to see the different roles that exist in society. Why doesn't everyone follow whats going on in Haiti? Maybe they don't have the stones to see what happened... Maybe they aren't cut out for getting down and dirty... Whatever. They are cut out for working, buying shit, paying their taxes, and going home. Frankly, people like that help put our society in a place to help others. So smile, let them do their thing while you do yours, and thank them later when they donate to your cause. Different people fill different roles...

Also, just because somebody is running around buying flooring today doesn't mean that they didn't care dearly about something you deem 'important' the day before. Thinking that because people are in Rona one day means that they only care about Rona everyday is kinda silly.

Clinton said...

Me thinks it's not the capitalism that's the problem but human nature. If everyone was forced to "give" via socialism, it still wouldn't change the heart of the problem.

I do hate materialism though, and that exists in socialist utopias as well as capitalist ones. Once again, human nature is the problem, not economic structure.