For hundreds of millions around the world, Christmas is the most important holiday of the year. It’s a cherished time to spend with family and friends enjoying great food, drinks and abundant consumer goods. For billions of others around the world, Christmas is not so merry.
Poverty and abuse in other parts of the world don’t really matter, as long as we have our oversized houses, gas-guzzling SUVs and an over-abundance of goods produced in factories on the other side of the planet.
Life is Damn Good.. if you are one of the Haves.
If you’re reading this post, your life is pretty damn good. You are in the top 10% of the wealthiest people on this planet. Sometimes it’s easy to forget how lucky we are.
All the opportunities I’ve had in my life were because I was fortunate to be born in a wealthy country. That only happend because my great grandparents, on my mother’s side, and my father escaped communist Eastern Europe for a better life. If I were born in Haiti, Burma, Laos, Cambodia, Bangladesh, North Korea or most countries in Africa, my life wouldn’t be so good.
You Are What You Buy
We don’t really care about the working conditions and salaries of those third-world workers that pick our fruit or make our goods. Nor do we want to be responsible for the environmental costs of shipping, packaging and disposing of everything in our throw-away society. Cheaper is better. We make our decisions about what we value on this planet, every time we open our wallets at a cash register.
We are not outraged because a billion people don’t have access to clean drinking water. We don’t really care about the tens of millions of children in the global sex trade. We are happy to close our borders to refugees just searching for some basic dignity for their families. Our lives are pretty good so why change? Helping others means we might have to share a little of our wealth.
The Church of Shopping
Let’s all take a moment to give thanks to the corporations that bring us cheap consumer goods and giant shopping malls. Consider the alternative for a moment. If we weren’t consumers, we would actually have to get involved in our communities, befriend our neighbors, spend more time with family and loved ones and take active roles in politics. Thank God that we have something better to do with our lives.
As our materialism and consumer madness culminate in a massive orgy of excess on this Pagan holiday of Saturnalia, co-opted by the Christian church to celebrate the birth of a supposedly white Middle Eastern Jesus, lets all go to bed fat and drunk in our consumer stupor.
The world didn’t end on December 21st, but it may someday soon, at the rate we are ravaging the planet. It’s best to get as much as we can for ourselves before that day comes.
As you spend time with your family this holiday season, please take a moment to think about how bad your living conditions would have to be to send one of your children to work in the sex trade. How desperate and hopeless would your life have to be? There are millions of people living in those conditions now, and few people care. Well the pedophiles and sex tourists here in Thailand probably care.
We should be outraged, but it’s easier to pretend it doesn’t exist.