Losing by Example

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I committed a murder.

She was young, with lovely dark eyes that gazed at the world in complete complacency. At my request, they hustled her into a private booth and shot a bolt into her brain. Then they chopped her into pieces, and ground up some of those pieces into a bloody hash. Finally, they formed that hash into a 1/4 pound paddy, fried it up nice and brown, and served it on a bun with cheese. She was lovely, and she was delicious. I didn’t kill her, but I ordered her assassination, and that makes me guilty.

I suffered a murder.

Someone doing 74 miles an hour crashed into my wife’s car. Thank you God no one was hurt, but my Nissan Versa was murdered. Her frame twisted, her panels bent, she was carted away and discarded. Three thousand pounds of metal, plastic, glass, and memories lugged off to the junk heap.

There is no change.

I don’t kill as many cows as I did before. I kill more plants now. I drive a shiny new Prius, using less gas and making the air cleaner. A little bit. These are the ways I once used to protest what has become of us, but no more.

These protests are useless.

If I croaked tomorrow, my protest would be unseen. If I never ate another hamburger and lived to be a hundred, my protest would be unseen.

Because it’s not about me and my choices, or you and yours. It can’t be. It’s about the cycle of money, the heirarchy of life. It’s about the market, and ancient religion. It’s about having a soul, and believing in a bigger picture.

We must manage up.

Protests do no good. Solutions do good. Never tell your boss about a problem and leave it to him to fix. Always offer your boss a way to work out a problem. Wailing about pollution doesn’t make it better.  Finding a way to end it makes it better.

I will kill again.

Beautiful brown eyes that gaze at the stars from under the feedlot lights will forever be closed by my order for a double-double with cheese. She will perish because I was hungry and didn’t have time for a salad.

I will suck oil out of the planet’s very bedrock to drive my Prius to McDonald’s. My new car doesn’t replace my Nissan, but leaves an even bigger hole in the ozone.

Perhaps the first step of activism is desperation.

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Author: John Reinhart

Technical writer John Reinhart says his mission is to get his readers excited about the possibilities of and wonders of planetary science. A happily married father of three from Ventura, CA, he holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Cal State Chico, has taught college courses, and is working on his second novel.

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