Monday, November 26, 2001

"President Bush cited waiting in longer airport lines as the sort of sacrifice that public-spirited citizens could make to support the war against terrorism. When President Kennedy told us to ask what we could do for our country, he had, I like to believe, something more ambitious in mind than standing patiently with our luggage." The Long Drive Home

This NY Times article reminded me of something I've been pondering. Since Sept. 11, We've been surrounded by flags - on bumpers, store windows, my Mother's blouse. In fact, there appears to be a contest in my parents cul-de-sac about which house can display the largest flag. Okay, I get it, and really, I don't mind. If flying a flag makes you feel supportive, by all means do it.

But I'm mortified my a recent poster seen in many Orlando businesses which transforms the American flag into a shopping bag under the heading American Is Open For Business. Have American business owners become so devoid of shame that they are ready to hijack the flag post-tragedy to boost sales? Well, gee, need I even ask? Of course they are! But that knowledge doesn't make me feel any better. As a long-time subscriber to the anti-consumerism message of Adbusters, I've long believe America was too wrapped up with the with the need to shop. Since September 11, consumerism has been pitched differently. We've been lectured in no uncertain terms that it's our duty to get our there and spend, baby, spend. Spend until it hurts, because if you don't then the terrorists will have won.


Look, I'm pro-capitalism. I used to work for Dow Jones and enjoyed it. But if a company can't handle a quarter or two of slow sales, then that company should seriously ponder its business plan. Let's face it, that's what we're looking at - a quarter or two of slow sales, tops. Hell, it's barely two months since planes crashed into the WTC and air travel was about 85% of normal for Thanksgiving. The nation is already recovering economically (although the dot com bomb and recession are different stories).

Instead of allowing people time with their families to heal or reflect and perhaps contribute to the greater good, we're told - GET IN HERE AND SHOP - AMERICA IS OPEN FOR BUSINESS! It has become unpatriotic to not be in debt up to your eyeballs.

I'm not buying it. If the Bush Administration wants to offer some real ways that average citizens can contribute to the anti-terror effort, fine, I'm all ears. Americans would love to offer a meaningful contribution of labors and energies. But if the only contribution government hacks can think of is Max out your credit cards and stand on lots of airport lines for two-hours, I'll pass. If you need me, I'll be puttering around in the garden.

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