They call us consumers as they consume us. Our time, money, attention, work, all belong to them as they see it. We are born indentured in mind, body and spirit and there most of us remain. Theirs is not to assist us to clear our debts, alleviate our fears, theirs is to pile on more of it, to extract from us our lives, to put a toll on every breath, to tap our beating hearts.
We pay the premiums through the prime-time of our lifetimes and the best we get are doled out installments when we can no longer run jump or sprint. And then they have the gall to call them the “golden years” all that and they may reduce or even stall the installments (due to an issue of their own making!), calculating correctly that every month gained for them brings us closer to our deaths. Money saved is money earned in their book and every book they bother to print.
Sad but true this society is but a series of gill-nets placed in waters we are made to swim. It begins in the crib, staring up at a square ceiling, chipped leaden paint, bluish boys and pinkish girls, brow beaten adults passing it on, sunday schools, superstitions, public schools that value standing quietly in line over creative thinking and expression. Nearly everywhere the honest truth gets the kibosh.
If we are unlucky in our parents, health, smarts, etc, a gill-net may catch us by the throat, and before we can get our bearings straight, they will have drug us aboard for processing; to feed some penciled-in institution that demands a harvest.
When it’s time to fight crime they do it in poor neighborhoods where capitalism at the street level doesn’t look so good. They appear to fight against it, but it is entirely an act of separation, they do it to obscure the view, the poor practice capitalism in its purest form of supply and demand. This is where deregulation and free enterprise exist in all their ravages. The war on the poor has produced a lopsided prison population and perpetuated craters of violence and degradation. To cover their ongoing crimes a PR industry springs forth and runs day and night inflating all manner of bogymen to justify their injustices.
Capitalism only exists for us on the ground. The expense of competing, for us, is bourn by us. Where we compete, they collude. Where we labor, they merger. When we get together it is an evil union. When they get together it is a benign association.
We have become their polluted water sinking to its lowest level. We are where these unnatural chemicals have come to dissolve. On and under the skin, through the lungs, eyes and ears, into our hearts and minds. Our bodies are merely vessels for social contamination that is why misery abounds and unsound advice rattles through tinfoil speakers.
The message is clear. If you become a meal, a purse, a pillow, a rug, it is entirely your own doing, the current distribution of things is by natural order in need of only a few minor tweaks now and then, laws elaborated and elucidated by courts supreme merely guide the ship safely through troubled waters, your reward will come later, don’t forget those golden years, just keep kicking the can down the road. And pay no attention to what they do but what might happen if they don’t do what they do. You’ve seen the commercial, advertised bogyman’s bloodlust and penchant for rape and baby massacres knows no bounds.
If we don’t hop-to and kill on demand we are jeered as cowards and traitors, the very thing that they are guilty of, for what is more cowardly than to steal from the people their time, bread, shelter, thoughts. What is more traitorous than digging a trench shoving the people in and saying “You all start here.”
If they think of us at all it is usually as their chattel, cattle, troublesome cows. A herd that must be pushed and prodded. They prefer us locked in the cargo hold while they run the ship. Anyone looking out a porthole can see the ship is hell-bent for the rocks. A seagull’s view of the deck would reveal that their helicopters are packed and ready for lift off. If disaster is averted probability will stand in awe.
They call us consumers as they consume us. They insist that we are the problem. Too many, they say, not enough to go around. This is greed barking through gaping holes.
We give our best years, do our best to avoid the worst of the gill-nets, turn our sorrows into something less sorrowful, with extended arms, opposable thumbs, love, practice the miracle that is life on this good earth that is being trampled by this thing that exhales devastation and calls it living.
Be a loose rivet. Let this thing rattle apart.
Michael McDaeth is a writer and musician living in Seattle. He is the author of the novel Roads and Parking Lots. He can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org