I am writing in response to the chorus of calls for Americans to go shopping to give our economy a boost. This call to consume undermines both our families’ and our nation’s security. It is time we take the blinders off to examine the implications of taking on more financial stress, and to clarify what truly gives us security and fulfillment.
In a nation where money problems are a leading factor in divorce and more people declare personal bankruptcy each year than graduate from college, it should be clear that there’s no heroism in spending beyond one’s means. Additionally, it’s clear that the reason for the brewing hatred of Americans in poorer countries in the world is directly linked to our excessive demand for resources and the use of our military to obtain them.
We can improve our nation’s energy security simply by driving less and conserving heat and electricity in our homes. We can heal our relationships with poor countries by saying no to the consumeristic behaviors that opened the wound in the first place. We can strive to enact a lifestyle of equity – a necessary prerequisite for lasting peace. Patriotism is not about running our bank accounts into the red just to perpetuate the status quo; it’s about making our nation great and the world a better place for ourselves, our neighbors and our children.