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The Driver

By Vi Ransel  Posted by Vi Ransel (about the submitter)     Permalink
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The Driver


Do you really believe your answers
to multiple choice questions
play any part in who you are,
that your identity,
your individuality,
comes from choosing
what's already been chosen
for you to choose by those
chosen to get you to choose
to use what their masters produce?

Ford. Or Chevy.
Coke. Or Pepsi.
Scott. Or Charmin.
What's the harm in your daughter
pining to be a pig like Paris,
or wearing jeans sell-out movie stars
and musicians push at us,
or your son idolizing a vulgar,
greedy glutton like The Donald,
or your husband worshipping
a drug-using, woman-beating sports icon,
or your wife reading the rag mags
from cover to cover to see which star's
just impregnated and jilted his lover,
or your boss admiring the wisdom
of executives from Enron
for their clever theft
of their employees' retirement funds,
or our children watching us
try to imitate celebrities
which gives our stamp of approval
to role models like these
latest idols
of American material excess
whose very lack of character
is seen as success,
whose identities we try to buy
since we see these leeches
as our betters
and whose conduct we endorse
by buying the junk they shill
in an effort
to define who we are
- very few of us could deny it -
but how unique could it be
when everybody else can buy it?

Victims of an offer
we can't seem to refuse
buying goods planned
for obsolescence
and perpetual renewal
while worshipping in front of
big-screen color TVs
eating our way to diabetes
and heart disease.
And the eating, the drinking,
the buying, the legal drugs,
the electronic diversions
allow us to accept with a shrug
the lop-sided economy,
the devastation of education,
the broken-down, red-and-blue
state of our nation.

We do the frenzied, directionless,
lemming-like dance
of the meaningless minimal motion
of a mouse-click
or the swipe of a credit card
and drown enthusiastically
in the plastic consumer credit ocean.
And in this act
of conspicuous consumption
we explode -

BANKRUPT

in spontaneous
human/consumer combustion.
Not to worry. There are always
plenty more where we come from
who've got holes in their souls
where their SELVES ought to be
that can never be filled
by the engineered
greed, lust and gluttony
which is how we express freedom
in the Land of the Free,
choosing goods
rather than the direction
of our Democracy.

Though we're sold the "fact"
that the market is consumer driven
and each of us, alone, is responsible
for our purchasing decisions,
corporations spend billions each year
to manufacture our consent,
to turn citizens into consumers
instead of the drivers of government.
If it didn't work they wouldn't pay
to arouse shame, desire and envy.
They do it because they NEED
a rabid consumer feeding frenzy

and our seeing our future strictly
as the next thing that we buy.
The irresponsibility they sponsor
keeps the profit well from running dry.
They want our focus
on the wealth-creating surface
of our outside
not the road less travleled
to the value we all have
on the inside.
They fear we might step off
the material path
because it threatens
their very survival
if we get over our lust
for the vehicle
and learn to love
The Driver.

- Vi Ransel

 

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