rocketing toward couch-dom at the speed of a useless ballot

6 November 2012 § Leave a comment

“Imagine never having to get off your couch to look for your VIN number. Infinite couch-dom.”

That is a direct quote from an advertisement on Pandora, in between Random Rab and the Desert Dwellers. I think we should reconsider what kind of culture we want to create.

Or have we, and this is the direction?

I suppose that tonight we’ll know more, like which scapegoat certain very large groups of US Americans will have on which to pin their hopes, dreams, and tendency to blame.

A Canadian friend of mine is throwing an election party. In Canada. They care more about our politics than their own. How many nations are watching what’s happening right now? According to Mike, the gangbanger-turned-Christian volunteer at the local community center, the whole world hinges on this election. How will we be affected? How much of that stress will be self-induced, or unnecessary? How will, say, Syria be affected by our presidential campaigns?

If our advertising is any clue as to the frequency we’re tuned to, we’re a large and divided group of name-callers and blame-slingers, the majority of whom do not have passports. We love our couches – and watch our elections from them! – and are inconvenienced by having to retrieve our VIN (all the way from our car!) when we wish to buy insurance online. Oh, how busy our lives are in the throes of infinite couch-dom!

I had a friend in elementary school named Shado. He wore mismatching socks, and his clothes were often dirty. Rumor had it he lived in a teepee (he brought a photograph – remember those? – to school one day to show everyone that he did not, in fact, live in a teepee, but in a stone cabin his father had built by hand.

Most everyone in school “hated” Shado. They avoided him at all costs, and when he had his milk carton open at lunch, it was considered cool to close yours, because no one should be like him.

Years later, Shado was the fastest runner in high school. He didn’t care what people thought of him, then or ever. He did exactly what he wanted, ran as fast as his body could go, and if your eyes couldn’t keep up, then perhaps, as he said to me once, “you should just close them.” The boy was peaceful and centered. Had the best grades out of anyone I knew.

When people aren’t looking, and they’ve made it clear that they aren’t, there’s no one to show off for. They’re not looking over their shoulders, secretly wanting to be a part of this.

People are watching, America. They’re listening to us, and consuming what we create. And we’re totally living into that – the showoff in school who crosses the jungle room a hundred times to impress bystanders. Eventually, they’ll grow bored of our antics, our pretty lights, and our government’s lack of ability to manage itself. They’ll shine the spotlight elsewhere – China, maybe – and look to them for guidance. Perhaps then we can be Shado, and reevaluate what we’ve been spouting off, and why.

I didn’t vote, and I feel ashamed for it, as well as disillusioned, unimpressed, and apathetic. My culture has seemed to do all it can to shake the rug to shed me. What values I learned were good from it (equality, opportunity, democracy) are rarely exemplified in true form. If my government wishes to pull the veil over my eyes, I’ll happily step out of line. My apathy is my scorn.

Tell me what more I can do in the land of equality but sit on the couch and watch presidential candidates represent each other as inferior, themselves as buffoons, and me as something other than a consumer.

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