Monday, May 08, 2006

Changing our lives to suit our politics

Over this whole weekend, I've been thinking about something, a lot of things, really. These thoughts are not completely well-formed yet; they're mostly questions, really. I've been thinking about the tendency I have, and many other liberals I know, to try to live their lives according to their political beliefs. So, for example, if you are concerned about the impact of too much garbage on the ecology, you recycle. I think this is a laudable thing to do, but I've been wondering about the impact it really has.

I've not done a good job of living up to my political beliefs in a lot of areas. Take my cars. We have a minivan and an suv. We both drive to work most days. I had been thinking about trying to take public transportation for a week. And then I thought, would adding an extra 1/2 hour or so to my own commute really make a difference in the overall issue of fossil fuels and their shortage and their pollution? Probably not. If I could convince my 200 or so readers to do that? Maybe.

And then I recently read some horrible articles on the Congo and Darfur and I see all the deaths in Iraq. And I think, what lifestyle change would help in those cases?

And I looked into joining a CSA (community supported agriculture), but then Rob tells me that may not be so good.

We all try out here in the blogworld to draw attention to issues that we all think are important, many of which are being ignored or underreported by the MSM. But are we blogging into a vacuum?

Is this the inertia factor? Are there thousands upon thousands of people rejecting the notion of taking public transportation or writing their congressperson or recycling because they figure it won't help? And what do we do about that?

I'd like to feel like my individual choices made some kind of difference. I'd also like to know what the solution to some of these seemingly huge and complicated problems are. It kills me that on the one hand, we go into Iraq because Sadaam was killing his own people and we do nothing about Darfur or the many other places where dictators carry out or encourage the killing of their own people.

My thinking here has been prompted by a lot of things I've read in my little blog community, Phantom's and Elizabeth's posts on being spoiled and privilege, Rob's post mentioned above, but also his post on relativism, Zuska's post on sexual harrassment. I've probably missed a few. In any event, I've been thinking and I'd like to take some action. I just don't know what that action is.