Recently a new friend remarked that I had “a lot of rules.” This was in response to my statement that I don’t read the gossip magazines anymore, triggered by the death of Princess Diana, but supported by my belief that we are too susceptible to bread and circuses and that it interferes with our ability to live a mindful life.
Susy wrote about this same phenomenon last week, regarding people who feel like your choices are a direct insult to them.
But what I’m trying to do is not so much “have a lot of rules” as to be true to my internal political and moral beliefs. You cannot state that you understand global warming and support the reduction of our dependence on fossil fuels, and then sit in a loading zone with the car running, or drive an SUV. You cannot put a sticker on your car that says “reduce, reuse, recycle” and then walk out of the grocery store with 14 plastic bags, especially if you have resusable bags in the trunk of your car. You cannot complain about Big Ag if you get all your groceries at the national chain, and seldom cook from scratch because you don’t want to devote the time. You’re not supporting the local food system if you’re eating at chain restaurants. If you believe that privatization of the commons is a bad thing, then you shouldn’t be parking at the privatized parking meters, or driving and paying a toll on the privatized road. A little inconvenience is a small price to pay,.
The political is personal. Your political beliefs should inform your life, not just your vote.
When people first meet me, I’ll warn them, I’m different. They will inevitably poo-poo this, stating that I’m just fine (as though I’m looking for reassurance). And then after they know me a little while, they’ll start to realize that in fact, I am different. I choose to live my life in a consistent way, even when it adds cost or inconvenience to my daily existence.
The personal is political. Small actions can lead to major change. Live your life by the rules you set for yourself, and mighty empires fall.