This wasn’t always the case. At one time, you could live in a small community that was insulated from other communities, from the rest of the country, and from the rest of the world.
That really isn’t true anymore. A single national election can determine (and has determined) the following — as have the critical mass of our daily purchasing decisions, the media we consume and support, where we decide to live and pay taxes, how we raise our children, and so on:
1. Whether or not the women in your community can get an abortion.
2. Whether or not you and your family will have healthcare.
3. Whether or not your community has more than one employer — or any at all — due to trade policies (voting in elections) and consumption habits (voting with your dollars).
4. Whether or not you can own a gun, carry a gun, the type of gun, etc.
5. Whether or not a local business can pollute the air or water nearby, or be held accountable for the illness and death that pollution causes over time.
6. Whether or not the BLM land or National Forest near your town becomes primarily an industrial center for raw materials extraction, or primarily a recreational area now and for future generations, or some balance of both.
7. Whether or not you and your children receive a decent education — or any college education at all.
8. Whether or not mass media can fabricate news or be required to provide balanced viewpoints (i.e. the Fairness Doctrine…gone now)
9. Whether or not you can buy something made anywhere but China.
10. Whether or not countless species of animals go extinct each year.
11. Whether or not future generations have anything left of the Earth to enjoy or thrive in (i.e. responding to climate crisis, avoiding nuclear war, etc.).
12. Whether or not someone who lives next door or very far away — even in another country — has a say in any of these matters in their own lives.
I could go on…but I’m sure you see the point. Because of the massive complexity and interdependencies of our current economic and legal systems, it is almost impossible to remain isolated and pretend that how we act (and vote, and consume) individually or locally doesn’t have a cascading impact on everyone else — both in our immediate community and all around the world, and both now and in the future. This is a de facto condition of modernity…to ignore it is just to remain willfully ignorant.
Therefore, everything really is political, now more than ever, and the question becomes: Will I pretend to be an atom who can act any way I please, engaging in life as merely a series of impersonal transactions, without acknowledging the impact of my choices on everyone and everything else, and fantasize that I have no responsibility to consider that impact? Or will I accept the impacts and influence of my choices on others and the world around me, the persisting and expanding relationships between my life and everyone and everything else’s, take responsibility for those relationships, and live more carefully and caringly…?
My 2 cents.
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