Thursday, November 6, 2008

Role Models

I'm not surprised at the election outcome. Nor am I terribly upset. Whatever his faults, the President-elect has already become an inspiration to millions upon millions of people, both here and abroad. I believe in the power of the people's belief in Obama. I also believe this power could prove beneficial or very destructive, depending on the true character of the one who wields it. I guess we'll be finding out.

But it got me thinking. Last Thursday, I attended the Hub-Bub Green Screen, where we watched two short films, one called "Gimme Green" about America's obsession with fertilized, pesticided (?) irrigated lawns, and the other called the Story of Stuff, which you can watch for yourself by clicking here. Do it. I mean right now. It's only maybe 20 minutes long. No seriously, stop reading this and click the link.

It's really incredible how consumerism has been the one value that unites America. I guess I'd missed it at the time, but the fact that President Bush, after 9/11, when he could have issued any number of inspirational missives, told us to SHOP? I mean really?!! What we consume has become our cultural identity, how we define our worth and happiness. When you stand back and think about it, isn't it pathetic?

The discussion afterward, as always, was fascinating. I just love these events because people of thought and action in the community are coming together to learn and think and share on matters important to me. Tammy Stokes, whom I've been keeping up with on Seeding Spartanburg, led the discussion. It was nice to finally put a face to the name.

I was still thinking about the elections, and the mixture of it all gave me an idea. Americans are very suggestible. I mean, they've been trained, from an early age, to buy up all the stuff the media has been selling them. Like it or not, if the TV/news/magazines say jump, 90 percent of America jumps. This includes the people they are supposed to look up to. Certain individuals are tagged as heroes, and society believes it, and they look up to these people and try to imitate them.

Now it's already been perfectly clear that the media is obsessed with Mr. Obama. He was a celebrity even before he was elected (Actually...given the above observation, a causative relationship doesn't seem far-fetched...) Anyway, as president, I can already imagine how every minute detail of his and his family's life will be televised and photographed, every uttered word captured, printed, and revered. And I know this happens to a certain degree with every president but this is like, the Kennedys multiplied by Oprah.

This could be very good for America if President Obama and his family can be pursuaded to be positive role models. What if they went into the White house and started eliminating wasteful spending right on the household level? I mean, applying sustainable living and energy conservation concepts. I can see the headlines now: "WHITE HOUSE GOES GREEN" and if O magazine wrote an article about Michelle Obama doing it, then all of the sudden it would be raised to national consciousness like never before and you'd have all these housewives wanting to go green because Michelle Obama said it was our duty to our country to reduce waste and make what we have go farther (thus helping to reduce national debt etc.)

There are so many ways to conserve energy that are just really simple and easy and make a huge difference. And it all makes sense once you take the time to listen to someone explain it. And obviously a lot of people would listen to Obama if he cared to explain (or at least endorse) it. And of course actions speak louder than words.

I feel like I'm not making my point very well but all I mean out of this is that I think we all should write letters to President Obama stressing the importance of him advocating sustainable choices and responsible spending beginning on the family level, and modeling it in his own family.This works on both the macro and micro level, and it will take both. If people could begin to realize it is their duty to their country and to their planet, and also serves them both short and long term...they'd realize the way they have been living is stupid and change. We just need a strong enough catalyst.

Earlier I said I didn't think Obama would go for this kind of advocacy. But maybe I was wrong. Besides, that's too fatalistic an attitude, after hearing Chris's point about our responsibility to act upon the solutions we want. So I intend to write a letter to the Obamas. Who's with me? Hey, maybe they'll listen.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I have a headache.

I stayed up too late last night researching Chuck Baldwin and Ralph Nader. Now I am babysitting the library while everyone else votes. It's very quiet in here.

One last thought for anyone who hasn't voted yet: Please pray first.
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