Friday, December 5, 2008

We Consumers Must Give Too

Since I am a new member of the growing number of unemployed people in America I have been forced to look at things differently. Being laid off gives you a whole new perspective on life. The truly unfortunate part of it is that it occurred right before the holidays. Normally I have a pretty generous gift list. I enjoy the whole process and I love seeing wrapped presents under a tree. But that is just not going to be possible this year and I am okay with that.

For the last eight years it has become increasingly apparent that the fine people of this country have somehow devolved into something less then citizens. We are now "consumers". We are not just consumers when we go, no. We are consumers all the time. That is who we are in the minds of banks, corporations and, let's face it, our government. If nothing is more important then the ability to make a profit then consumers are like wolves running for their lives under a helicopter with Sarah Palin in it.

That is why it is perfectly okay for profiteers to send you robo calls all day and night. Or the reason I get 6 or 8 yellow pages a year at the cost of millions of trees when I didn't ask for them or want them. Ditto on catalogs. I could go on and on but I won't. As long as lobbyists rule Washington D.C. there will be no "citizen" or "consumer" protection. And, oh by the way, the environment, schools, science, and anything else that doesn't relate to making money can sit back there too.

So while our government is busy giving our tax dollars to the corporations who got insanely wealthy over the last decade it looks as if WE will have to take care of ourselves and others. When I asked myself what I really needed this Christmas I recognized that the answer was nothing. My friends and family are all doing well enough. So the next question is "Who isn't doing well?"

Charities! When times get rough it is the charities that suffer the most. When people have to make choices between putting food on the table or giving to a charity the choice is clear. But for those of us who can still put food on the tables and count our blessings this is the year to give to charity. I have asked the people in my life to give to a charity of my choice this year. My folks gave money to the Days End Farm Horse Rescue for me this year. My husband will contribute to Northwest Harvest on my behalf and I will be sending money in his name to the ACLU.

I have included a list of my favorite charities on my blog. All that I have listed have been vetted and given 3 or 4 stars from Charity Navigator. You will note that I have a soft spot for animals but I also recommend that you consider the charities that are helping the poor this year. They need it more then ever. You don't have to give a lot only what you can afford. All your help is appreciated, believe me! Consider this as well, donations are better for the environment! No packing, paper, boxes, bags, etc. Gosh, I feel better about things already.

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