Posted by: Ms. Crackers | October 3, 2008

{ money vs mouth }

A little follow-up on my previous post discussing the buy-out of Weddingbee by eHarmony.

One of the comments from the hot-topic Weddingbee buy-out post called out people who were leaving the site based on the principle of not wanting to support a company whose ideals are in direct conflict of theirs.  I am not going to link to the comment directly (out of *ahem* principle), but here’s an exerpt:

Everyone is entitled to their own opinions but I sniff a bit of hypocrisy and fake bravado here.

Get a grip people – this is a wedding planning site, not a political platform and if you don’t share the views of the financier of that site it doesn’t mean that you are compromising your own by clicking in. Because if you do, then there’s a lot I can challenge you with –

– Stop subscribing to the national cable stations based in the bible belt because they, too, are anti-semetic, anti gay and anti abortions. I bet you won’t be calling your cable station to unsubscribe, and your money goes directly to them!!

– Stop shopping the Gap, Old Navy, Banana etc., they are doing the most horrific things to children in their sweat-shops in south-east asia. Much, much worse than eharmony.

– If you feel like supporting the cause, then talk the talk and walk the walk. support organizations, contribute to charities, write to the newspaper.

You know what?  I totally agree.  Far too many people in this world pay lip-service to causes just “because”…whether it makes them feel good to easily support something on paper but not in principle, or because it’s hip, or because they feel pressured to do so.  Hipocrisy runs rampant.  We have people whose intentions are so far removed from their actions that they have lost all purpose to their own power.

We all have power in each and every action we act, each thought we think, each truth we speak.  Our money, our feet, our hearts…they all point us in a direction that is either FOR our principles, or simply AGAINST them.  There is no grey area, when you get down to it.  Either you’re in or out.  Either you are or you aren’t.  Yes or no.

None of this bullcrap “I drink fair-trade coffee in my sweatshop jeans”.  We talk a lot in this world, but we say verrrrry little of substance.  So, to that poster, I completely and utterly agree with you.  We should take this opportunity to “get a grip” on our actions, and maybe something as silly as a wedding planning website can wake people up a bit and get them to mobilize and change and become better aligned with their beliefs.  We should think more about where our purchases come from, where we put our money and our time and our energy.  We may not be able to change EVERYTHING, but we can at least change ourselves for the better.  It may not be an immediate change, but as long as your INTENTIONS point you in the direction you want to go, then everything else will fall in place.

So, to answer that call-out:

We grocery shop local.  It’s hard, especially being unemployed and having a limited income, but our goal is to eventually ONLY eat locally produced food.  Food that we recognize.  Simple, unprocessed food.  We know our farmers.  We want to know the animals that die for our dinner.  We want to know the dirt that grows our lettuce.  Our goal is this, and we align our actions to this goal.

We do not subscribe to any television channel.  We do not pay to support advertising from companies whose practices are contrary to our own beliefs.  We use rabbit ears to receive what few channels we receive…and if it all goes digital (the cable representative told me it would…:P) and we lose reception, so be it.  My clothes, half due to poorness and half due to the fact that I loathe being a normal human being, are primarily second-hand vintage pieces.

Now, the problem with living your life “properly aligned” is figuring out how far to take it.  We can’t control EVERYONE’S thoughts, everyone’s actions.  We can’t work ourselves into a panic because we are guests at someone’s house and they use a brand of toilet paper that indirectly and subtly supports, say…um…the mistreatment of fluffy white kittens (I don’t know).  Don’t go waving your ass out the window to dry off on MY account.

It’s one thing to be ignorant about something (honestly, I’m not going to research EVERY website I visit prior to actually visiting it…hey, I wonder what WordPress’ official standpoint on abortion is…), but it’s an entirely different situation to be aware of and to make a choice of supporting hatred.  THAT is what this whole Weddingbee thing is about.

I did a little bit of soul-searching in university…branching out and becoming more “worldly”, what have you.  I took an Eastern Philosophy class and learned a bit about buddhism, and one thing really stuck out in my mind: the text stated that although the buddha aligned himself with vegetarianism principles in his daily habits, and encouraged others to do the same, he also did not decline a meal with meat when offered to him if the alternative meant putting out his hosts.  Buddha didn’t go flailing his buddha-y hands about, complaining about the lack of tofu and alternative protein sources.

I don’t really know where I was going with that, but I simply want to say this.  I think everyone should be treated equally – not necessarily the same, but certainly equal in all rights and privileges.  This extends to the freedom of our own choice of behaviour and action.  I think we should all do what is right for ourselves, and so long as it does not push an agenda on others or limit THEIR abilities to do what is right for THEMSELVES, then it’s all good.  When we can start to view people as actual PEOPLE…individual, different people, not a colour or gender or orientation or set of breasts or gloriously full and curly hair…then I think we’ll be OK.

Until then, I’ll make a point to keep buying Ontario apples, wearing 40-year-old dresses, and trying to see each human interaction as though it’s the only one I’ve ever had and ever will have.  That includes retracting any and all statements of judgement against sweatshop-jean-wearing-fair-trade-coffee-drinkers.  I apologize to you and support you…until you choose to infringe on the rights of others, and then I’ll support you to change, and that’s about damn it.

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