I recently ran into someone who told me I need to suggest ways to fix the problems I address in my blog. After talking for some time we agreed that the simplest most common sense solutions have the best chance of working. I told him that quite often the best answer to a problem is simply to do nothing. I told him I had addressed just that solution about four years ago in a post and would reprint it here.
From October 2009 here is: For the Best Solution Do Nothing
One of my FW’s (fellow workers) mentioned that the gas station nearest work was selling gas for only $2.88 per. gallon. It’s a shame that we are to the point we think paying under $3.00 a gallon is a bargain. I replied, “I don’t buy Shell gas.” One FW replied, “OK what’s wrong with Shell?” I replied, “I don’t like how they have destroyed Nigeria by aiding the corrupt government that runs the country. I also don’t like that Shell has dug mass graves with their equipment to bury indigenous people who the corrupt government has killed for trying to stop Shell from taking their lands.” Shell also has a horrible environmental record in Nigeria. See boycott info: Shell info
Info on turmoil and corruption in Nigeria: Vanity Fair
One of my fellow FW’s said, “I don’t care what a company does as long as its product is the cheapest. “I came back with, “Some people go to church on Sunday and pray for a better world when they made decisions all week-long that contributed to the injustices and destruction of the world.” I thought of a few of my present and former FW’s who actually have sent their kids to Christian schools to supposedly get better moral values. Yet the same parents don’t give a good Hannity (my word for shit) what values the companies who make the products they use have as long as they’re cheap. Sounds like a waste of money on that Christian school when the kids come home to parents who don’t care about standing up for a more moral and just world.
I also have a beef with fellow FW’s who pick up their check from Public Education while they put their kids in private schools. This is a hypocrisy George H. Bush brought up when he ran for president. Bush talked about the NEA teacher’s union and made fun of how 30% of its members had kids in private schools yet the NEA was fighting against school vouchers. I wasn’t working in Public Education at the time and thought Bush was full of Hannity. I have been ashamed to now learn that Bush may have even been a little light when he said 30%. I am puzzled why my FW’s in Public Education don’t see this hypocrisy as detrimental to their job in Public Education.
I truly believe parents and grandparents all would like to see a better world for their children, grandchildren, and the next generation. The world is fraught with problems pertaining to social justice, sweatshops, racism, misogyny, poverty, the environment, human rights, respect, dignity, etc. I’m sure most people are overwhelmed in their daily life just trying to earn a living and get by to feel they can spend any time being an activist on even one of these issues. Mother Theresa told us we should “just do what’s in front of you.” Even if people did as little as that, just working on an issue that confronts them daily, it would make a better world. What if I told you how you could take a role in fighting for all the social justice issues I mentioned above without even lifting a finger? As a matter of fact, not lifting a finger, not moving a muscle, being an armchair activist as it were is exactly what is called for.
It’s not really about doing anything it’s about doing nothing. By that nothing I mean we can make major changes by holding corporations accountable. The easiest and best way to do that is by closing our wallets and purses to their anti-human, anti-environmental agendas. The sound they most fear is the silence those wallets and purses make when they don’t open. Nothing in a capitalist society speaks louder than the silent sound of wallets not opening.
I have spoken out in my workplace about the evils of WalMart and Sam’s Club. Both of them don’t pay livable wages, seldom promote women (when they do they pay them less than men), they use Third World sweatshops, use child labor, pollute, are anti-union and get millions in corporate welfare. They are on the wrong side of just about every issue you can imagine. Because as I’ve said I work in Public Education I brought to work information like the following about WalMart trying to wipe out public education. Folks I work with said, I know WalMart is evil but I have to go to Sam’s Club. It’s as if going to Sam’s is some kind of religious experience. Don’t take my word for how evil WalMart is; take the word of The Methodist Church and 30 religious, labor, consumer, and human rights groups that have urged WalMart to improve the company’s social and environmental performance. The groups organized by the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, said it feared the company’s strategic vision to achieve success in the marketplace comes without an ethical standard.
The first and only time I went in a WalMart was over thirty years ago as I accompanied a friend who entered the new store in Hermitage, PA. What I saw inside the front door made me turn around and leave and never come back. The terror that drove me from their store was the Wal-Mart greeter. It was Louie who had been a boss at a grocery store I worked in while attending YSU. He was the vilest, lecherous, evilest boss I have ever worked for in my life (and that’s saying a lot). This was a man who actually made fun of and imitated a handicapped employee at the grocery store. Here it was decades later and this boss was now a senior citizen and a greeter at WalMart. I imagine he probably kicks canes out of the hand of elderly women and disconnects the batteries on the scooter buggies while the handicapped ride them in WalMart. I knew very little at that time about WalMart. What I realized though was that if they actually had Louie out front representing their store they truly were “Satan’s store.”
As for Sam’s Club I’m not shopping anywhere that I have to pay an annual membership to. That just sounds plain dumb to me. I tend to buy from small stores in my community and buy things at second-hand stores so I believe we do have alternatives to companies that are not good world citizens. Truly, do those products we buy at soulless corporations give us so much comfort and pleasure that we will pay such a high moral cost for them? When we buy gas at Shell and enter WalMarts and Sam’s Clubs with our children, we are telling our kids we think little of the world they will inherit. In the end, we must ask ourselves: do we want bargains or values?
My local hero this week is Lynn Anderson who went on WKBN radio’s Dan Rivers’ show and addressed the problems of fracking. When I heard Lynn was going on I was worried for her. That is because Dan believes corporations are sacred beings and he can be quite rabid in defending them. Lynn had a rabies shot before hand and had her facts down and was prepared. Lynn did a great job pointing out damages that have occurred around the country by the type of chemical fracking that has existed about the last five years. The downside is that Dan’s conservative audience is highly allergic to facts. When the callers phoned in they stated things that just weren’t true and missed most of Lynn’s facts. Paul Lyden of the Lyden Oil Company was one of the callers. He also runs a weekly show on WKBN touting fracking. Paul’s family has been in the oil business for 90 years so he has an agenda. He is not really interested in alternative energy like wind and solar because oil and gas puts money in his pocket. Lynn also has an agenda which is keeping our valley safe which puts no money in her pockets.
Lynn and other activists have managed to get an issue on the ballot concerning whether fracking should be allowed in Youngstown. These activists are saying fracking in a community should be up to the residents. Mr. Rivers (who does not live in Youngstown) and most of the people who phoned in have a problem with democracy because they don’t believe people should be allowed to vote on such issues in their community. Lynn said she didn’t want to chase away jobs in the oil and gas industry. She said that if a community accepts fracking the process should be made as safe as possible to protect everyone who lives there. She called for the latest safety equipment, for telling the public what chemicals are being used and for the end of exempting gas & oil companies from the Clean Air and Water Act.
Dan had Lynn and the other guests leave before the last hour of his show. That was so that he and his callers could take pot shots at Lynn and the other environmentalists without them being there to use facts to fight back. Mr. Lyden made the stupidest attack on Lynn and those that accompanied her on the show. He said she was a hypocrite if she drove a car to the show or was wearing any oil based clothing. Lynn Anderson never called for the end of the oil and gas industry only that it be as safe as possible and that we not export our gas and oil to places like China. Mr. Lyden being outraged over her saying that only tells me that it is an unsafe industry and that he has no problem with our oil and gas being exported as long as he is making a buck. Mr. Lyden who gets rich off of the oil & gas industry and dismisses alternative energy is a hypocrite because he called himself an environmentalist. I was trying to keep from choking when I heard him say he was an environmentalist. The next thing I heard was Dan Rivers agree and say he also was an environmentalist. Mrs. E then had to give be several hard hits to my back to keep me from choking to death. My attempted murderers Paul Lyden and Dan Rivers win the area buffoons of the week award.
Local Musician: David Mayfield Parade: “I Just Might Pray”
“The best angle from which to approach any problem is the try-angle.” ~Author Unknown