Thursday, November 6, 2008

Live Handmade

I Took The Handmade Pledge!

I think there are parallel currents reshaping and redefining American life. On one hand, corporations and government continue to formalize and commercialize our lives. On the other hand, the green and handmade movements highlight our interest in recognizing a social interconnectedness independent of big business.

With the stock market heaving and the government scooping up broken financial institutions, I think we are definitely looking at increased government control of the economy. Additionally, the G-8 and other global powers are already talking about banding together to combat the global economic crisis. If there’s one thing that increases government power quickly and mercilessly, it’s a crisis. Just look how the Patriot Act expanded executive power, trampled civil rights, and justified the discrimination and detention of Muslims. On a more individual level, I think the shaky economy will force more families to choose inexpensive, corporate businesses like Wal-Mart instead of alternative markets. Many families who would rather buy organic tomatoes from the farmer’s market simply don’t have the extra 2 dollars.

At the same time, for the very same reasons, I think some individual and families are trying to step away from big box stores and commercialization. Christmas is coming and our bank account is dry. I realized over the summer that times would be hard, so I bought gifts for my kids during garage sale season and then purchased handmade puzzles. With the national economy in a messy transformation, I feel it’s important to send the message that I support independent artists and craftspeople, not big business and the exploitation of underpaid workers. The economy is also a reminder of how dangerous it is to spend unwisely and get into debt. Therefore I hope more families choose to focus less on buying, and more on making, recycling, and trading for wonderful, meaningful gifts.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Wars America Forgot

As the stock market lurched down the morning after Election Day, most Americans were more worried about our economy than our wars. Exit polls show that only 1 in 10 voters considered Iraq an important election issue.