Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Living Sort Of Deliberately

I finally figured out why I've been grumpy for the past few days: I'm not in Florida anymore. I had a great time visiting my best friend, but it's always hard to leave her. Maybe I'll just move to Jacksonville.

Anyway, that's not the point of this post and if I tried to tell you about the weekend A) you'd probably be bored and B) I'd probably start to cry.

So.

Although I've been feeling grumpy since I returned to school yesterday, the depth of my grumpiness didn't really register with me until this afternoon at our Young Greens meeting. (In retrospect, it probably should have registered yesterday afternoon when I told my friend Steve I was about to punch him in the face over something as trivial as a flyer.) Steve and I co-sponsor both the Young Democrats and the Young Greens. Neither organization did much last year -- the Greens got together fairly frequently to watch movies (Outfoxed, Fahrenheit 9-11, The Corporation, The End of Suburbia, etc.) and the Dems held a lot of meetings about getting t-shirts.

This year though, the kids at least have a lot of ideas about what they want to do. The Greens, in addition to wanting to get t-shirts, want to start their own Food not Bombs chapter, which is incredibly ambitious and admirable and impressive. But as I sat there listening to them talk about it, I found myself whispering to Steve about how crazy they were. "How 'bout volunteering with organizations who are already feeding the hungry, like the Union Mission or the Food Bank, so you can get a sense of what that's like before you take on something as time-consuming and complicated as Food not Bombs?" I suggested. "That's a good idea," the kids said. By which I'm pretty sure they meant, "Way to rain on our idealism parade, you naysaying bitch."

And I'm usually not a naysaying bitch. I'm usually pretty idealistic myself. Food not Bombs is, in fact, right up my fucking alley. So I tried to rally my old idealistic self for the inevitable t-shirt discussion.

"What did we decide about t-shirts?" some kid asked. "We're gonna get white t-shirts and tie-dye them green," the Vice President answered. "With eco-friendly dye!" the President added happily. "Are you gonna get sweatshop-free t-shirts?" my idealistic, non-naysaying self asked, mostly because I am madly in love with a little sweatshop-free t-shirt company in LA and will take advantage of any opportunity to plug them (see? I just did it again.). "Yes! We are not going to be selective liberals," the President announced proudly.

And good for them. But shit. Unless you are prepared to get all Thoreau on everbody's asses,* selective liberalism is where it's at. You can't go to work every day in sweatshop-free eco-friendly clothes made entirely of organic hemp. Believe me, I've tried. So, for the sake of practicality, we compromise some values while holding fast to others. I won't set foot in a Wal-Mart, but I'm no stranger to J. Crew and Anthropologie, neither of which are particulary ethical (nor particularly UNethical). However, you will not find a single cleaning product in my house that's not completely biodegradable, phosphate-free, and therefore eco-friendly. I may be a selective liberal, but I'm a prioritizing liberal. What else can you do really, aside from selling all your worldy possessions and moving to the woods to tend your bean patch?

*This is what teachers do, by the way. We start saying certain things to make fun of how our students talk and before you know it those things have crept into our vernacular.

8 comments:

vikkitikkitavi said...

I meet so many people who basically think that because you can't do it all, it's hypocritical to do anything.

I'm a vegetarian. I can do that. But have I completely eliminated leather and other animal products from my life, and more importantly, from my wardrobe? No. I hope to someday.

Meanwhile, I do what I can do, and I'm always looking to do more. Nothing wrong with that.

Grant Miller, Esq. said...

Better to be a selective or prioritizing liberal than an ass-scratching conservative.

Grant Miller, Esq. said...

Dear vikkitikkitavi,

Have you read a book by Carolyn Adams about how to deal with non- vegetarians? It's a good read and I would tell you the exact title if I remembered it. Came out in...2002? 2003?

Sincerely,
Grant Miller, Esq.

vikkitikkitavi said...

No, I haven't read it.

This is not the Carol J. Adams who wrote The Politics of Meat, is it?

Sorry to hijack the comments, Megan.

Maritza said...

Just hearing that they are so enthused is enough. Does my heart good.

IAMRONIN said...

Megs,
This is so addicting, I've been reading blogs and posting for the past three hours. Thank god I have fox news on in the background.
Ronin

Coaster Punchman said...

Although I admire and am in awe of all the save-the-world people I meet, I am always secretly relieved when I find out they do things like watch TV and eat junk food.

Megan said...

Vikki: I am always frustrated by the "it won't make a difference" crowd.

Grant: Word.

Maritza: Yes, despite all that crap we hear about how much trouble the country's going to be in when the next generation takes over, most kids actually do care about stuff.

Ronin: Glad you're enjoying it. And don't get me started on Fox "News."

CP: Me too, although I guess it depends on what the vice is. TV and junk food is one thing, but I am disturbed by save the world types who don't practice what they preach.