Thursday, October 13, 2005

True Costs/Real Questions

We bitch when we pay more than two-fifty for a gallon of gas! Yeah, I know its way higher than that now, but like Gene McDaniel asked a long time ago: “Compared to what?”

We never ask that question, do we? And if we do I wonder if we really consider the wide range of answers open to us.

You been to Europe lately? It seems to me that they are paying the true costs of using a rapidly dwindling and environmentally damaging fossil fuel. But the message of what true costs are never gets down to us does it? We see the world a different way than others.

After all, we’re American and what there is, is what we say it is, right?

We complain that we’re losing way too many American lives in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan! Hey, don’t get me wrong here, this is not a political screed against George Bush-that’s another piece I‘m putting together. But when we talk about this issue I never hear about the tens of thousands of ‘others’ that have died in the last couple of years because of our attempts to rid their countries of Saddam Hussein or the Taliban.

Then ya gotta take a look closer to home, and I mean real close. When was the last time you took a look at your kid’s waist line? When was the last time you took the time to cook a good healthy meal? And no, checking into KFC or Mickey D’s and walking out with a couple of Happy Meals or buckets of chicken and cole slaw does not count.

When was the last time you looked at what you were putting into your mouth? I know, I know, who the hell has time to cook good food let alone shop for it, right? But I’ll betcha that somewhere on the KFC and Mc Donald’s payroll is somebody in a white coat and carrying a clip board telling us that their food is nutritionally sound and yummy good, right?

And we believe him ‘cause we’re American and what there is, is what we say it is, right?

Speaking of what we ingest when was the last time you saw a quality show on TV? General Hospital or CSI Miami do not count, neither does Fear Factor or the six o’clock news. If we judge the general intelligence of the public by the more popular shows on the tube (excuse me but I do not want to be a Hilton or work for ‘The Donald’) we're a nation of morons, but we’re American and what there is, is because we say it is, huh?

I am not a snob, I enjoy a good cold beer and I love to laze around in front of the tube watching a ball game just like Joe Six-pack. I can understand the need to save time by eating fast food and getting the world news pre-packaged by the spin machines out of Washington, DC, New York, and Los Angeles. What I can’t understand is how people in this age of the internet accept the crap shoved at them and believe that’s all there is to it. But then again, we’re American, right? And you know the drill, don’t you?

The oil business has us by the short hairs and is subsidizing our habit working hand in hand with the automotive industry aided and abetted by the US government. And please, don’t you dare try to tell me that it’s only the Republicans doing this shit. We’re American and if we don’t stand up and demand truth from our so-called leaders we’ll get what we deserve.

But then we only stand up for what is, right?

Cindy Sheehan stands up and whaddya know, some other folks have the gall to tell her that she’s undermining our troops in Iraq! Hey, they gotta right to do that don’t they? This is America after all and we all have a right to disagree, right?

So how come it feels like the people that want the war are the only ones allowed to say that they’re patriotic? People that want to return America to ‘traditional values’ are portrayed as true Americans (hmmm, traditional American values…genocide, slavery, repression of women…what values are they talking about anyway?).

Okay, I’m definitely off track here! But what are we really paying to have the life style we Americans enjoy? And, for that matter, who is really doing the paying?

I met someone over the last couple of days who tells me that there are better ways to look at wealth and health. She tells me of a philosophy and life style that, while I have absolutely no real details, intrigues me. We were in a retreat considering very weighty issues concerning our coaching work so we really didn’t have time to delve into these matters.

But it gave me comfort to know that there are people dealing with these issues. I have volunteered with Sheila’s church to provide food to the needy. I worked with Habitat for Humanity to give a home to a poor family in Pennsylvania with my cousin Lee. I’ve given over ten years of my professional career to helping disadvantaged people get access to education and training so that they can enter the workforce with more and better tools to succeed.

My work and volunteer efforts are drops in the bucket. A wise woman I once worked with said there are no easy answers when it comes to dealing with the suffering of the poor right here in America. I believe that a major paradigm shift needs to occur for us to even see the true problems facing us. My friend Jim Snow from the McLean Dialogue has been schooling me on Lakoff’s work on frames of reference.

When we can see how others see maybe then we can all ask real questions about the true costs of being the society we are.

1 comment:

Ben said...

Go, Chuck! Please post a link to my website (after reading my entries on 9/25 and 10/1). And tell Jim Snow I say "Hi". We all gotta get together. -b