Think globally and shop locally

Think globally and shop locally

By Stanley Campbell

Think globally and shop locally

My friends, do you feel frustrated by the overwhelming problems of the time? Don’t!

We have the resources to make this world a paradise for everyone. But the world is telling us to think only of ourselves, to fear the unknown and to shop. Unless you listen to public radio, the vast majority of people are hit by a barrage of ads cajoling us to only think of ourselves.

My friends, shopping is the real opiate of the masses, and the primary “religion” of America. Most of the messages we get are “look at this sale” and “buy something else.” Even, or especially during news reports, when we are shown disasters, the next thing we see is an ad. It didn’t take the networks long to start running ads after the New York twin towers came down.

But it left the consumers cold, and really, didn’t the advertisements seem so petty after September 11th? People began to search for more meaning in their lives.

When we hear of terrorism, poverty, war, we may want to turn away, to think only of ourselves. But, my friends, we gotta try to figure out how to solve these problems.

Terrorism, drugs, guns, poverty and war can be overcome, just like slavery, lynchings and the war in Vietnam.

There’s a bumper sticker at the Peace Store (623 Seventh Street—do your holiday shopping at a nonprofit store!) that says, “Think Globally/Act Locally.” That means to heal the world, volunteer at Crusader Clinic; to educate the poor, tutor at your local elementary school; to stop violence, help your local women’s center.

Theodore Roosevelt said, “Do what you can with what you have where you are.”

Here in northern Illinois, we have many great local organizations that deserve your time and effort. If you need suggestions, give me a call (Rockford Urban Ministries: 815-964-7111).

I’ve worked for 16 years in the Rockford area, and there’s a slew of saints and saintly organizations that deserve our support.

When you find a saint—someone willing to work in wretched conditions helping folks turn their lives around—support ‘em. Never ask, “Well, why do you do that?” like they’re some kinda freak. My friends, WE are the freaks—we who sit in our air-conditioned offices sipping our flavored coffee from Sumatra while the world goes to hell in a hand basket.

Think globally, act locally.

During the upcoming holiday season, try to do something different for a friend or family member besides buying a gift from the mall. Try something different like making a contribution in that person’s name to their favorite local charity; or maybe go to a nonprofit second-hand store and look for humorous items that could bring joy.

If you have the time, donate it to a group in the name of your loved one. Or buy something nice for the poorest and least-loved member of your community.

Let’s make this holiday season a special one! Happy days and nights to you, and let’s look forward to a warm spring ahead.

(Stanley Campbell is “the only paid peace activist in Rockford,” and it’s the United Methodists that pay him, so take everything he says with a grain of salt.) Editor’s note: Sentiments expressed in parentheses are by the author of the column.

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