The American Consumer

Los Angeles, CA (TFC) – Occasionally we print open letters. This is one we recently received. fifth column 1

Dear Fifth Column News Editor:

I support our troops.  I believe might makes right.  I am a consumer.  I consume endlessly.  In times of recession, I consume even more to get the economy back on track.  I happily work longer hours with increasingly poorer benefits.  I never disparage my employer for failing to pay wages that keep pace with inflation.  I make only minimum credit card payments—to increase my debt load for the benefit of Wall Street investors.  I see nothing wrong with having the same Congressman represent my district for 20 years.  I prefer political attack ads over political debate.  Campaign contributions are distinguishable from bribery because campaign donors must fill-out forms.  I believe the super-rich have the right to spend as much money as it takes to win elections.  I see no hurry to address climate change because American know-how always finds a way.  I accept pollution as an inevitable byproduct of progress.  Greenhouse gasses are good for the environment because they make the planet greener.  Each year, I get four flu shots, one for each flu season.  I relinquish my own opinions in favor of those from persons with initials after their names.  I satisfy all wants and needs that Madison Avenue creates for me.  I never protest in the streets, nor attend city council meetings, but I do obey doctors’ orders.  I always ask my doctor whether medical advice from TV commercials is right for me.  I accept perpetual war as the inevitable consequence of an oil-based economy.  Perpetual war is good for national morale because it spares us the shame of another Vietnam-style defeat.  Fluoride strengthens tooth enamel.  I buy tomato soup with the pink label—despite the fact that it contains known carcinogens—because it helps them find a cure.  I don’t bother reading nutrition labels because they won’t tell us what’s in the food anyway.  Our two-party system is the pinnacle of political evolution because of the built-in safeguards against collusion.  I accept that poverty will always exist, especially among the poor.  The unemployed should just “get a job.”  Food server wages should be dependent on my capricious tipping whims.  Food stamps are the main reason for our skyrocketing national debt.  Welfare is wasted on the poor; we should give welfare money to large, impersonal corporations and re-label it a subsidy.  I stand up for what’s right, but only where I directly benefit, and only moneywise.  Freedom and justice are antiquated ideals best left to Hollywood action movies.  I never question the government version of events, and where others express doubt, I ridicule them as wild-eyed conspiracy theorists.  No, I never heard of NDAA.  The Patriot Act is basically a loyalty oath—anyone opposing it is unpatriotic.  Warrantless searches are okay because they eliminate red tape.  A gun-free society will make us safe and hyper-militarized police will make us even safer still.  The government spy program shouldn’t bother anybody unless they have something to hide.  If we all relinquish a little privacy, then we’ll all be a little safer.  If we relinquish a lot of privacy, we’ll be a lot safer.  Terrorists hate us for our freedoms, so giving up our freedoms maybe isn’t such a bad thing.  Television commercials are louder than television programs so we can hear them on the way to the fridge.  I disregard proper diet and exercise because I can always fall back on once-a-day pills.  I show undaunted courage in the face of possible side effects.  Alcoholism is a choice, not an illness.  Obesity is an illness, not a choice.  I cannot remember a time when our skies were not spray-painted like the tic-tac-toe World Series. Public schools should prepare students for big-box retail instead of college.  Organic is too expensive.  No, I don’t know the difference between gluten and vegan.  Corporations are people too, with thoughts, emotions, and constitutionally protected free speech and religion.  I acquiesce to a corporate culture that quietly industrializes violence and death both on the battlefield and in the slaughterhouse.  Everything I know about history I learned from the History Channel.  I will not pass “Go”—but I will have another ninety-nine cent cheeseburger—because I am the American consumer!—the tyrannical silent majority!.  I stand for nothing—I fall for anything. Apathy like mine grinds civilizations to a standstill.  And it never dons on me that I am superfluous in their eyes.  Truth is, our kind are now so plentiful that we disprove traditional science –hydrogen is NOT the cosmos’ most abundant element –it’s inexcusable, unrepentant ignorance. ~TMP

by T. Matthew Phillips, Attorney-at-Law