Portney’s Complaint

Portneys Complaint

Portney’s Complaint

Devon Portney

With the holidays approaching and the shopping frenzy upon us, it is easy to see the big picture out of focus. This time of year can cause people to forget the world around them when the gift giving, party throwing, and tree decorating takes precedence.

Now we all love to receive gifts, and we enjoy giving presents to our loved ones. I thought this time of year was about the spirit of giving and togetherness. So when I hear that someone was shot because they refused to give up their PlayStation 3 money to armed robbers two weeks ago, I begin to grow disillusioned with this whole holiday, gift-giving scenario. The Denver Post ran an Associated Press article on November 17th, stating that authorities had to shut down a Super Wal-Mart after some shoppers got rowdy. In West Bend, Wisconsin, a 19-year-old man was injured when he ran into a pole racing with fifty others for one of ten spots outside a Wal-Mart.

Video games and the like are fine, but not when they trump all other issues of life importance. Trampling each other for the last gaming system, or whatever novelty Elmo doll comes out this year is hardly exemplary of the holiday spirit. Is this how we act, people? Our obsession with immediate gratification has achieved a new level- an all time low level at that. Am I saying that you shouldn’t play your PlayStation 3 or Nintendo Wii? No. I am simply saying that you should keep those things in a real and true perspective. People were camped out in tents outside of Best Buy two days before the PlayStation came out. Do they realize they could have a similar experience sitting in protest of war or world hunger? Nobody runs to be the first in line to protest the war in Iraq. Our priorities just aren’t what they used to be.

The title of this five-part column was ‘A Call to Arms’. This has a very real meaning. We are in a state of denial and social removal. We must change our ways and we must do it now. Even if just your thinking changes, it is a small yet vital step. If we start to think about the world differently, start to see what’s going on, and what is important (and what just isn’t), then we are on the right track. Social revolution takes time, and activists work for years sometimes to achieve their goals. However, it has been a long enough time since we have seen true evidence of this. Those who are working to protest the war in Iraq are unfortunately severely under supported. Take what I’ve said in the past columns and apply it to your daily life. Don’t read the news blindly with your heart, read it with your whole brain. Don’t ever be afraid to challenge what you are told, you will become more informed that way. Do not let the fear mongering of powerful people destroy what you believe on your own. If you are determined to truly understand what is going on in our world, you will only be afraid when you actually should be- not when other people tell you to be.

Lastly, understand that we are living in a critical time. As a society we have evolved into a far more apathetic people than we used to be. Try to bring yourself out of our consumer driven society as often as you can, and look at it through someone else’s eyes: eyes that aren’t adorned with Dolce & Gabbana sunglasses. If someone randomly asked you which was more important: designer jeans or an end to world hunger, I’m guessing (and sincerely hoping) that you would say an end to world hunger. So why isn’t this understanding of importance evident in the way we live our lives? If you can just alter your thinking, and help someone else do the same, then you’ve begun to answer my call to arms.