11/28/14

Ranting Re: Commercialism

First Quarter Frost Moon (Age: 5 days)
Sign: Aquarius
Weather: Cold, clear skies & 
snow on the ground
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It's that time of year where I rant about commercialism. I'm not going to do the 'keep Christ in Christmas' thing or say that commercialism is bad. This year, that rant is for my other blog. No, my rant today is the way that people sacrifice their human connections for the sake of stuff. Commercialism sort of contributes to the problem that this creates, but it is a symptom of the true ailment, not the cause.

If you look at the events over the last several years, you find there is a lot in the news about how people are getting treated as subhuman. Racism, sexism, and transphobia have been popping up a lot on my Facebook feed. People try to push the ugliness of these problems aside. One of the ways they do it is to buy stuff or throw money at the problem. Buying stuff is like eating chocolate. It has a temporary effect of boosting the mood but too much of it is bad for you. 

Throwing money at the problem is like putting a bandaid on an injury. For some injuries, the bandaid works really well. For a lot more, it is ineffective if not contributing to the problem. Commercialism encourages us to take the approach that buying things or throwing money at a problem will solve it. It's a pretty lie that I have seen too many people buy into. (Pun for the win!) It doesn't solve the problems like racism because it doesn't really address it. It only addresses the symptoms.

It's the holiday season and a lot of people are going to be struggling, just like they do any other time of the year. It seems like only during the holiday season people want to be compassionate to others because it is some how going to magically improve their conditions for the rest of the year. Compassion that is practiced for one month is not true compassion for others. It is a shallow behavior that is intended to assuage the conscience of the person who is doing the 'giving'.

Yeah, it's Black Friday. Everybody and their cousin are out shopping right now. The Salvation Army are out with their kettles and bells. Stores have partnered with food pantries to raise funds. There's a fair amount of money flying around right now and a good portion of it is landing in the charity sector. It isn't going to be enough to sustain those charities for the whole year. And there are some charities where only a small percentage of your donation actually gets to the people it is supposed to help.

This year, do something different. Make your charity giving into a year long event. You may not be able to give a big sum of money all the time. You can, however, volunteer your free time to help out at the local soup kitchen a few times a month. If you're crafty, you can make hats, mittens, socks, and blankets for the homeless. And if giving money is the only way you can contribute, you can skip that cup of coffee for a few days every week to donate that little bit to the local battered women's shelter. There are more ways you can help then you realize.

Yes, give and be generous during the holiday season. But don't let it only happen during the holidays. Make it a year round thing and actually help your community. It's another way to embody that Wiccan maxim of 'perfect love and trust'. Or the famous golden rule. Or building frith within your community. There are so many ways to describe the idea that I'm trying to get to here.

In case you're wondering, I've been making hats for the local hospital's NICU and I've started on things for the homeless. Right now I've got a few scarves and several pairs of slippers.

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