Friday, November 25, 2016

On Black Friday

What do you want the world to look like in 2017? I ask this question because I feel like today, the day after we've collectively "given thanks" and have had some time off to reconnect with family and friends, hopefully sleep in and rest a little, tend to our basic human needs and enjoyed some comforting food, and hopefully maybe had a few still moments to just take a good, deep breath, we're equipped to look forward. I ask this question today because, this is the dollar sign day. Everything is for sale and on sale and we're experiencing peak capitalism right now, in this moment and all weekend long. And as you know, money talks. And as you know, you can cast a very impactful vote with your coins. And as you know, capital amplifies your voice.
So what are you saying, today? What will you say today and for the rest of the year to cultivate your vision for yourself, your babies, and our world for 2017?
I bought pajamas for my 3 year old, today. Not because I want to feed the monster that is capitalism or fund oppression. I bought pajamas for my 3 year old today because she needed pajamas and I could get the best deal on them, today. I have a single income. I have 2 children. I want to opt out of capitalism ALL THE TIME, but that's a luxury that I and many others don't have right now. Folk don't shop at Walmart because they hate their fellow man. They shop at Walmart because that's what's available to them. That's what's so sinister about this system... It feeds on the working class and impoverished and forces them into a cycle in which they have to rely on this machine that is destroying them to eke out a living and provide for their families. It makes us victimize each other. It pays us almost nothing so that all we can afford to buy is sweatshop clothing and contaminated food, sourced/picked/packaged by other people who are being paid almost nothing.

I'm worn out by it. I'm tired of giving Proctor & Gamble and whoever else my money. I don't want their shit in my house, on my body, near my kids, and I don't want the blood on my hands. And so far, I've done a decent job of escaping the all consuming vortex of mass market conglomerates. When I look at my medicine cabinet, I feel good. When I look at much of my wardrobe, I feel like an okay person who is clearly trying. The electronics market is a lot harder to navigate, for sure. Thankfully, the world of resale helps with big ticket items like furniture. A lot of work goes into steering clear of companies that do not align with my morals and politics.

I try to pay a little more when I can, after having researched the sources of the materials and the working conditions of the people that make the thing I'm buying, hoping that I'm casting a good vote. Hoping that companies will get the message that yes, we do want pesticide-free, cruelty-free, sweatshop-free goods and services, and yes, we do want sustainably sourced goods, and yes, we do want a healthy world, and yes, we do want ingredients that won't sterilize and/or kill us and our children, and yes, we do expect them to not just provide stuff for us to buy but to stand for peace and justice, and the eradication of poverty. But there are only so many hours in the day, and WE only have so many dollars.

All of this is to say, do your best. Do what you can. Don't beat yourself up when you fall short, especially when you had to decide between the cheap option because that's what you could afford and the expensive one that aligned more with your politics and your morals. But spend the extra when you can, because it does matter. Put your money where your heart is.

I get the feeling that our vision for 2017 is similar. I also get the feeling that collectively, we can get there. We've made some poor choices for... Pretty much our entire existence, at this point. But, grace and mercy has us here, still clinging to this planet, white knuckling it into another year. We're still here, which means it's not too late to start making some better better choices. Let's begin by supporting organizations such as The Body is Not An Apology, an organization that is dedicated to eradicating racism, cisheteropatriarchy, islamiphobia, and on and on and on and which has a subscription campaign to fund the radical self love work that will help get us all free and Say Word, which has taken on the critical task of guiding and empowering our youth. Let's buy black by supporting businesses such as, Planet Lucid, and Philadelphia Print Works. Let's give our discretionary income to ARTISTS, specifically the ones who are LOCAL so that they can continue to make a living painting, dancing, writing, providing the soundtrack to our lives, inspiring the world, and being great.


As native Americans are being physically attacked because they don't want their water poisoned -- Let that sink in --HUMAN BEINGS ARE BEING PHYSICALLY ATTACKED BY OTHER HUMANS BECAUSE THEY DON'T WANT TO BE POISONED -- It's important that we stand together. It's important that we make some tough choices and maybe a few sacrifices. That might mean saying, "no" to getting a gigantic TV for $45 at Best Buy, today, or resisting the convenience of walking into Target next week to pick up a few rolls of Angel Soft for the low low and putting for the effort and extra money to get toilet paper from Freedom Paper, instead. It's worth it. We're worth it.

I want us to rise next year. I want us to thrive next year. I want you next to me, whole, healthy, free, and in your right mind. We gon' get there, or nah?