Enjoy the Recession

Enjoy the Recession

What?  People are losing their jobs and their homes.  What is enjoyable about that?

The answer to that questions depends on what you think came before the recession.  If you think what we had before was normal, then the recession is pure misery.  But if you think that before the recession we were living a life distorted by shallow materialism and unrealistic expectations, then the recession gives us a chance to reset our priorities to allow for a more nourished, more deeply fulfilling life.

What do we really need?  An SUV and two houses, both oversized, eating out and taking glamorous vacations by maxing out our credit cards and draining the equity from our homes?  Or do we actually need one modest house, enough nutritious food cooked at home, a safe neighborhood, health insurance, energy independence and a community that sustains us?

Now is the chance for individuals to redefine their priorities, and for the states and the country to do so as well.  Our economy does not have to depend on all of us rushing to the stores the day after Thanksgiving to snap up “bargains” that we don’t really need.  It could be based on finding the best way to assure the basic well-being of our communities and our nation.  This might mean using the government to employ people for awhile, as in the Great Depression, when many of today’s bridges were built by the Works Progress Administration.  It could mean that some companies who make, import or sell useless luxuries are going to fail.  But it can also mean that millions of Americans go to work insulating homes and offices, building light rail systems, organizing community gardens and public health clinics.  It is a chance to create a society of nourishment, rather than one of luxury.

If we are able to think this way collectively, we have a chance to make this vision real.  People need to talk to their neighbors and friends, and communicate with their government representatives, and keep the vision alive.  We have a chance to turn our current suffering into a future of real, not phony, prosperity for our children.