In his book, The Great Divorce, C.S. Lewis stated that it is impossible to remedy the fact that one is going in the wrong direction by continuing in the same direction. Repentance consists of turning around and retracing one's steps in order to travel in the right direction.
The United States, a nation founded on oppression and bloodshed from its very beginnings, finally began to come to its senses during the 1960's and 1970's, as a result of massive protests against violations of the civil rights of its oppressed classes, both at home and abroad. But almost from the moment the ink began to dry on the Civil Rights Acts of the 1960's, the holders of concentrated economic and political power and privilege in this country began plotting to tear apart the civil rights gains that were achieved. They began plotting to reverse the U-turn which American society had begun to make. They began plotting during a time of plenty for the nation as a whole, a high point of resource availability and economic power, thus giving the lie to the notion that societies become fascist and oppressive only during times of leanness and economic contraction. They plotted thus and have continued to plot and to act on their plots over a period of more than five decades, thus showing the pathology of their plotting minds.
This week it looks like these plotters have won – among whom are Ronald Reagan, Dick Cheney, the Bush family, Rupert Murdoch, Charles and David Koch, Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh, Rudy Giuliani, Charles Butt (son of Howard E. Butt, the owner of a large supermarket chain) and a whole host of fellow-traveler multimillionaires and billionaires. And the Republican Party is a revived, rampaging beast, seeking to dominate the world in the name of a hypocrisy masquerading as a theocracy. But all hope is not lost. In a post I made last week, my last prediction regarding events in Ferguson, Missouri is that I expected many disenfranchised people in this country to become quite creative in the art of passive rebellion.
And that is just what is happening. Many, not only African-Americans but others as well, sick to death of being oppressed by narcissistic, sociopathic supremacists, have decided to strike back in a way that is both non-violent and perfectly street-legal. Today, many of us are celebrating Blackout Black Friday, a day in which we are boycotting all the sales at retail outlets trying to move commercial trash. Many of us have pledged that we will not spend one dime today. (Disclosure: I am at Starbucks typing this. But that's because over two years ago, I swore off paid Internet service. Once I'm done here, I'm done spending money.)
I hope Blackout Black Friday is a roaring success. However, I think we should extend our boycott to the entire holiday season. And here's what I mean. I know we all need groceries. But let's swear off buying anything other that what is needed for everyday life. Let's forgo buying toys of any kind, whether toys for kids or toys for grown-ups. If your TV breaks between now and New Years, take it as a sign that you should give up watching TV. If your computer breaks between now and New Years, find a used computer or borrow someone else's. If the phone you have now still makes phone calls, don't upgrade it. Trust me, you don't need more consumer electronics. Let those who still drink the Kool-Aid of supremacy take on the burden of trying to save this shopping season. Let's see what happens when they max out their credit cards.
If such a boycott really takes off, expect whining multimillionaires to dominate the airwaves complaining about how we're “hurting the economy” and “depriving people of holiday celebrations.” I have an answer for that also. If you still feel the need to give gifts to people this season, then give food to the hungry. Extend hospitality to the widows, the orphans and the strangers – especially the dark-skinned strangers from foreign countries who have come here because economic and military policies of the United States jacked up their former homelands. A hot meal is always in season.
In short, let's have a holiday season devoid of materialism. For those who are Christians, let us return to a pure celebration of the birth of Christ, and let us remember His concern for the oppressed, laid out in Matthew 25:31-46. For those who are Jewish, remember the God who commands His people to care for the orphan, the widow and the stranger; and remember that God is not a “respecter of persons.” For those who are not religious, remember that you are connected to your fellow man, and that “an injustice against one is an injustice against all.” Take time this season to reconnect with your fellow human beings.
A good place to boycott is Wal-Mart, where John Crawford was shot to death by police in Ohio in August for buying a toy pellet gun for his children. Some good toys to boycott include pellet guns from any and all manufacturers because of the shooting of 12 year old Tamir Rice by Cleveland police while he was playing with a pellet gun in a public park. (Here is a list of more shootings that have taken place since Michael Brown was shot to death.) A good company to boycott is Emerson Electric, which is headquartered in Ferguson, Missouri, and which manufactures appliances and tools under the ClosetMaid, InSinkErator, Metro, ProTeam, RIDGID, and WORKSHOP brands. Some good entertainment to boycott includes all sports events (including all bowl games), all celebrity shows, all movies, and any other entertainment designed to distract us from the horrible injustice we are seeing in the “greatest nation on earth.”