Have you ever been in the grocery store and come across this scene? Somehow these vegetables have migrated to setup camp on a pile of cookies. Now it’s possible there’s some kind of Toy Story thing where the vegetables have a secret life when people aren’t looking. But it’s more likely that the were left there by some jerk who felt as though they were too busy to walk the 50 yards back to the produce section to put the vegetables back where they got them from. No big deal right?
Wrong! You see, this is a prime example of how our thoughts, actions and attitudes in everyday activities get translated and amplified in other areas of life. A person who is willing to leave an unwanted object anywhere they damn well please in the grocery store is also a person who also probably leave the cart sitting in an empty parking spot. They may also be willing to walk through a door someone is holding for them and not say thank you. Maybe I’m looking too deep in to this, but I think it’s true. Why? Because I’m just as guilty of it too. I’m not perfect. But I recognize it and work toward being better.
Our attitudes come out in funny ways unless we are completely mindful of our thoughts, words, and actions. Suffice it to say I am willing to bet actual cash money that there is a higher percentage of vegetable abandoners who will vote for Trump compared to those who had supported Bernie Sanders.
Despite the belief of some of those on the right, Bernie’s supporters were far more willing to pay their own way than any political supporters in recent memory. Trump supporters on the other hand were attracted by the fact that their candidate was reportedly paying his own way. Ironically the democratic socialists were willing to come together as a group in order to be independent. Whereas the right-wing supporters of Trump are hoping to return to a time where more was guaranteed for the average American.
Typically speaking, the survivalist sects on the right like to think they are self-sufficient, but rarely think of all the areas they must rely on others for. For example: The people who are processing the materials that their clothing is made from, the scientists behind the technologies used in their weapons, or even the miners who work to get the materials to can their beer. The point is, they consider themselves to be independent, and can’t be bothered to think about the interdependence we are all a part of. Whereas the democratic socialists are far more willing to look behind every kale leaf to find out who or what is behind it, how it got to their table and whether or not there was suffering involved, and if so what they can do to help alleviate it.
The point is that we are all dependent on each other, but some of us recognize it more. Those who don’t can act like real jerks.
Here’s a few examples I experienced a while back. It was 2008 and the world was falling apart, banks were closing, companies were collapsing, people were losing jobs… and there was a presidential election. For the first time ever in the United States an African American was elected to the highest office in the land. I had three friends who made sure to tell me how much they weren’t prejudice before proceeding to talk like complete jerks.
One of them was complaining about how Obama wasn’t doing anything for the economy but spending more money. He was ruining the American way of life! He wasn’t getting anywhere and something needed to be done! The funny part? This was in February of 2009 when she was saying this. That’s right, a mere 4 weeks after he had inaugurated. He probably hadn’t even found all of the bathrooms in the White House yet. When I pointed this out to her, she told me it was typical for liberals to think it’s okay to spend out way out of the problem. When I reminded her that only 8 years previous (2009), we had a budget surplus from the last president and that this crash had started over a year ago under someone else’s watch. She replied I was part of the problem by talking about the past, and not the problems we have right now. Really.
The next one had lost his job again because of his drug problem. He had been fired for missing too much work and was unable to get unemployment insurance. His comment to me? “I’ll bet you if I spoke Mexican I wouldn’t have any problem getting government assistance!” That’s right, he destroyed his life with drugs, lost his home, his family, and had become unemployable, but he was complaining that he wasn’t eligible for a government handout because he was white. You can’t make this stuff up! You see he was convinced that anyone with an accent was less than him, so he was entitled to money because he had been in the country his whole life and had paid in to the system. Whether or not he had played by the rules never occurred to him. When I brought that up he just changed the subject and called me a liberal (said with disdain, of course).
The final guy was the worst. This is a guy who made pretty good money in the Reagan years and whose business was now slowly dying. He had to lower himself to working for someone else, and predictably lost his job in the crash. He had to go on unemployment, and then proceeded to tell me how much it sucked, how little he was getting, and how the guy we elected was ruining the country. At some point he said “Dave, they guy’s middle name is Hussain!”, to which I reply “Yeah…? It’s a pretty common name in some parts of the world you know?” He finally just says “Never mind. I forgot, you’re one of those.” One of what, I never found out, though I suspect I could fill in the blank. Suffice it to say that one day I went to his house for something and his computer was on, it was then I noticed that the desktop wallpaper he had was of Air Force One with a picture of Barack Obama with a huge afro and eating a piece of watermelon. So while I suspect I know what I was “one of”, I know for a fact what he is “one of”.
The thing is, I can’t for a fact prove that they all leave avocados in the cookie isle, but I suspect that it’s true. And while I’ve never seen them leave a shopping cart in an empty parking space, I’m willing to bet they do it regularly. Because they all had one thing in common, they felt they were entitled to something because of the color of their skin, the position of their politics, and the fact that they all feel that everyone else is getting things for free except for them. Even though when they ended up on government assistance and saw how limited it was they never stopped to think how most people would rather do an honest day’s work for better pay than is available for those on assistance.
Racism is egotism on a grander scale. Especially among people who have reasons to feel less than in their daily life. By attaching their self-worth to that of their race, or their patriotism, they become part of something else. They become a part of something bigger than they themselves are, they are now a part of something that deserves respect because of it’s grandiosity or its purity, and therefore, by extension so do they.
And ironically, when they themselves were starting out bagging and shelving at their local grocery store and they came across a piece of produce in a foreign location, they likely blamed some irresponsible minority for it.