Thursday, March 24, 2011

More of everything and 7-11

When driving to a Kitsap County Democrats meeting I saw this:

Its hard to tell from this google streetview shot, but it is a boarded up big box store that says "More of everything!" (I accidentally deleted the camera shot)

The picture looked like a postcard from post industrial suburban America. This picture captures the end of the version of the “American dream” that depends on unending consumption. It feels like a dilapidated propaganda billboard in post Communist Eastern Europe. In fact, that would be the best case scenario of what this picture represents. Imagine this analogy, if our communist billboard is in Prague we have a chance, if it is in Moscow we are doomed.

I know this seems like a strange comparison, but stick with me.

In Prague people look back on the relics of the Communist era and say: “how could we have let ourselves be ruled by such corrupt leaders and bankrupt ideology.” While in Moscow people yearn for the glory of empire and support leaders like Putin who promise a return to the good old days of Soviet power and prestige.

If we as Americans continue to look back on the failure of consumerism and suburbia and say: “we must do everything we can to get back to where we were” we will never progress. We will continue to support the failed policies of the past and continue lowering taxes on the rich, desperately believing that trickle-down economics will somehow give the middle class its spending power back. Hopeless.

However, if we learn from the failure of unrestrained consumerism and start to build a society and communities that better reflect our values we might someday look back on pictures like this and laugh.

If you think your community is insulated from the effects of the great “re-alignment” think again.

Please note the next generation Prius parked in front. A clear dichotomy between the new and old economies

This was a 7-11 store in the heart of Wallingford (by all measures an affluent community) that announced its closure with 72 hours notice. 7-11, the veritable symbol of 24 hour consumption is closing hundreds of stores around the country.

Its time to re-think our priorities.

1 comment:

  1. Less parking lots, more farms, better transit, more bike paths. Street soccer for all.