There’s something weird and macabre about the current spate of “die-ins” occurring across the country.
The logic seems to be that we register our very live protest by pretending to be dead, and blocking normal business as usual in the process.
The message: you must stop killing us and people we care about!
This season’s die-ins have mostly taken place in the name of racial justice.
I’d like to see the struggle broadened to include species justice as well.
Imagine if we protested on behalf of the coral reefs, the migrating birds and butterflies, and the small-animal roadkill?
Imagine if we staged die-ins on behalf of the sea turtles and the whales and the polar bears?
What about the tortured factory-farm animals and lab animals and the forest creatures whose habitats are being destroyed daily?
Imagine if we didn’t relent, but kept dying and dying and dying, swooning over and over again in public places until those in power were compelled to pay attention?
One thing is for sure, the powers that be in our uber-capitalist society want us alive and kicking, doing what’s expected of us as productive citizens: to keep consuming at a steadily increasing rate of purchase.
Buy, buy buy! Don’t worry about tomorrow, think about consuming today!
This is the constantly trumpeted message of countless advertising campaigns, and it’s the general ethos of American society, which admires those who can indulge in consumer wish-fulfillment, and disdains those who choose a different, less self-indulgent path.
Whether we choose to physically represent the “death” of our consumer selves, or to simply make a personal decision to refrain from participating in the excessive spending that is pushed on us from Black Friday through Christmas Eve…it is time to recognize our own power as consumers.
We can choose to support or starve the fossil fuel monster. We can decide to keep the factory farms humming or to put our purchasing power behind local farms where animals are allowed to live happier lives. Or even to go further, and eliminate meat consumption altogether!
In this age of Congressional gridlock and the stranglehold of big money on politics, we ordinary little guys must remember that we do have power if we come together to wield it.
One person staging a “die-in” is just a weirdo who can easily be removed.
A hundred or a thousand people refusing to go along with business as usual is something different: it’s a social movement, a force for social change.
The first step toward social change is awareness. I thank the die-in protestors for leading the way in raising our awareness and stopping the mad rush of business-as-usual.
I’m no Grinch; I’m going to be buying presents for my children and celebrating the holidays with friends and family.
But as I do, I will be trying to limit my participation in practices and policies I know to be harmful.
#LifeMatters. Yes, it does.