I've never been much for keeping any kind of journal, try as a might. I always let them fall by the wayside because I often feel I don't have anything interesting to say. Over the last year, however, I've started looking at things in the world a lot differently. Up until now I've kept my frustrations and opinions to myself because I didn't feel they really contributed anything to the argument. But I can't stay quiet anymore. Maybe I'll just end up being another asshole with a blog who rants about the things that bother him, but I feel as if we're at a tipping point in this country and that if people don't wake up to the problems we face and work together to take action against them, then we're going to get the shaft.
Specifically, I'm referring to this story here about Black Friday: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rB82sT4-jeQ
We've seen this story in one form or another almost every year. And if it isn't people getting trampled on the way in it's people literally coming to blows over toys for their kids or things for themselves. But I think this year it's bothered me more than ever. In addition to that story and others like it that I haven't found yet, there were stores that were opening during Thanksgiving Day in order to bring in those holiday sales. But rather than see it as an opportunity to get good deals, I saw it as an act of desperation.
We live in a consumer driven economy. That means that the majority of our economic growth is dependent on people buying stuff. Whether it's groceries, electronics, clothes, tools, cars or anything else, shopping is our main means of keeping the businesses running and this is a serious problem. We have high unemployment, everyone is worried about losing their jobs, prices for food and gas are crawling ever higher and yet the TV keeps telling us to go and buy more crap. This is madness!
It makes me sick to watch a video like this not just because it's the epitome of greed and barbarism but because it shows me that so many people in this country actually think that things are going to be alright. They think it's fine for them to charge all of their holiday shopping onto their credit cards and not have to worry about making those payments until next year. Of course the main problem with the economic crisis that we're facing is DEBT itself! Debt on the part of the government, the banks AND the consumers.
I don't know if it's because people can't stand the idea of not being able to buy the things they want or don't need. I don't know if it's because people can't stand the idea that things might actually be bad and may be getting worse. Maybe they're scared and don't want to face reality. But the simple fact is that the mounting problems brought on by our behavior and the behavior of our government are not going to go away and no amount of legislation or economic chicanery is going to take care of it for us.
If you're buying gifts this holiday season, then I ask that you be reasonable in what you get. Don't feel like you have to go on a massive spending spree if you know that it's going to cause you pain at the end of the month. If you feel like you won't be able to buy gifts for co-workers or friends because it's going to cost money, explain this to them. If they get mad because you're "not in the spirit of the season" or some other such bullshit, then ask them if they're going to pay the light bill for you at the end of the month or if they'll help put food on your table. Most importantly, get out of debt and start saving your money, not just for your retirement but for the very near future. And for fucks sake, STAY AWAY FROM CREDIT CARDS.
There are a lot of other things I want to talk about. I feel like it's time for people to start taking this country back and in spite of how hard things are becoming, there are things you can do to protect yourself and even prosper if you're willing to acknowledge that tough times are coming. I'll be posting more videos, more rants and more ideas about how you can protect yourself from the rough waters we're heading into.
Peace be with you.