Friday, March 11, 2005

Living My Politics

I don't always do a good job of living my politics. For instance, because I am terrible at managing my finances, I never have any money to give to causes I support.

But I am doing okay in some ways. I haven't eaten veal in years, since the conditions under which veal calves are raised are atrocious. In the past couple months, I haven't eaten hardly any beef or pork, so I'm almost to the point of not eating mammals. So, I'm not quite to my goal of vegetarianism, but I'm working on it.

And, of course, as most of you know, I have taken a significant pay cut to go back to work for the American Red Cross. I am putting my liberal, "helping others" ideology where my mouth is. But I am a bit worried that my politics are thereby going to come into conflict with each other.

You see, I have also stopped shopping at Wal-Mart because of their anti-worker, anti-union, pro-importing goods from countries where kids make them for 3 cents an hour stances. It wasn't easy, since I don't exactly make a lot of money now, working for the state. Wal-Mart, of course, is very cheap, and shopping there does help stretch the value I get for my dollar. But I also know that value comes at the expense of the working poor, who ironically help to lower their own wages and standard of living by shopping at Wal-Mart to get the good deals.

It's going to be a great temptation to resume shopping at Wal-Mart after I start my new job. It will definitely be harder to resist the temptation of lower prices when I am sacrificing my earning potential on the altar of doing good. I intend to continue my boycott of Wal-Mart, but my politics are definitely squeezing me at both ends right now.

The worst part of the boycott, though, which will only be exacerbated by my new, lower salary, is in buying fabric for making costumes, which is my big hobby right now. Fabric is super cheap at Wal-Mart, since it doesn't cost much to force blind epileptic children to make it for them in Kuala Lumpour for a bowl of gruel and a packet of ketsup each day, and they almost always have a bunch of bargain fabrics for $1 or $2 a yard that I can use. They also have Osnaburg Permanent Press, a khaki fabric that I use a lot for Jedi stuff, for $2 a yard every day. Going to Jo Ann's or our local chain The Fabric Place means paying $3-$6 a yard for everything, with Osnaburg being, I think, $3.66 a yard. Which still wouldn't be that bad, if I weren't 6'3" tall and 220 lbs., therefore needing a hojillion yards of fabric for every piece of clothing I make.

I shall try to be strong, gentle readers. I will keep you updated. For now, the boycott continues!


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