Cheap Bleep

Jesus Christ said many difficult things in the Holy Bible.  Recently, I’ve been thinking of a statement recorded by Matthew:

“And why take ye thought for raiment?  Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”(Matthew 6:28-29, KJV)

Then there is this remark, recorded by Luke:

“And he said unto his disciples, ‘Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on.'”  (Luke 12:22, KJV)

These are difficult things to read.  I think about food a lot.  I think about where it comes from, what it contains, how it was grown, and how it was prepared.  Of all the things I worry about each day, the purity and quality of my food ranks high.  I filter my tap water and put it in glass bottles, I boil my free-range eggs and save the shells for my garden; then I make a salad from greens I’ve grown or gathered from a farmer whose hand I’ve shaken.

I try to make thoughtful decisions about the things I buy in the local specialty grocery store, but it’s difficult.  The other day I noticed the “local” eggs this store provided had been trucked from a farm fifty-six miles away.  I know there are farmers with chickens right around the corner.

How can I not worry about these things?  Was Jesus suggesting I turn a blind eye and mind and eat at McDonald’s?

Similarly distressing to me is the first verse.  I’m no lily of the field and I spend a lot of time worrying about the clothes I wear.  I strive to be as thoughtful about the provenance of my circle skirts as I am my summer squash.  I’ve written about my struggles to find long-lasting quality clothing more than once here on this blog.

Surely, Jesus was not suggesting we go out in public wearing our pajamas.

The other day, I read an article about child slave labor in one of the countries that produces the inexpensive clothing we’ve all grown accustomed to buying and wearing.  It affected me because I had worked in a slipper factory to put myself through college during the last remnants of American industrialism.  I was adequately trained, my work environment was imperfectly pleasant, and I don’t think I was abused in any way.  I don’t remember ever chatting virulently around the “water cooler” about my boss, the machinist who fixed my sewing machine, or the owner of the company (who was a real person I saw almost every day).  It was “piece work” and I generally earned $12 to $15 dollars per hour.  That was a lot of money for a college student in 1984.

(Click the picture to read more about my struggles with clothing.)

I’m spinning and toiling with words this morning as I lift my weary Friday brain off the pillow.  I’m shuffling through my closets and bureaus, wondering if there is anything I can do to change a sovereign nation on the other side of the globe.  It’s complicated and messy for a Friday; unpleasant even.

The truth is, we are addicted to cheap bleep in this country and the implications of that addiction are far-reaching.  I don’t have many answers today, but I know I am free to withdraw my consent.

It’s kind of like garlic.  When I read the labels and found out the garlic in the grocery store was being shipped here from around the globe, I started growing my own.  It’s turned out pretty well and while my actions haven’t put an end to the overseas garlic trade, I’m no longer consenting to it.

I can withdraw my consent of Indian sweat shops by saying “No” to cheap bleep today.  It might be a small step, but it’s the one I can take.

It’s a little bit less I have to worry about, like Jesus suggested.

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6 Responses to Cheap Bleep

  1. Loosehead Prop says:

    The problem with clothing is there is no American manufacturing. Short of the extremely handcrafty homemade woolens, fabrics and clothing are simply gone from our shores. It might be worth stockpiling boxes of clothes in your sizes, especially the high-end tech fabrics of winter, because it wouldn’t take much disruption in supply lines to throw the clothes-buying public into a panic.

    • LP, you bring up something that I didn’t want to explore in this post but you are absolutely correct. While there may be enough “know how” to set up cottage industry clothing production stateside, the majority of the fabrics are made on another continent. It’s quite a serious situation and as you intimate, one hiccup in the supply lines and we’re out of panties.

      I’m long underwear.

    • There’s a lot of second-hand options and etsy probably has some american made stuff

      • Hi Mark,
        Yes, I agree there are a lot of second hand options. I thought of writing my list of “5 things you can do to promote quality local clothing” but I ran out of time. There are also books about sewing and tailoring, so lots of used clothing could be tailored and remade into new things. I see a lot of this on etsy.

        Thanks for inspiring me to be a little bit greener every day with your own actions!

  2. Good post…burn all the cheap bleep!!!!

  3. faye says:

    clothes oft do declare the man ( or woman)- snobs, slobs and all the rest….I’m lucky ’cause i can’t wear ‘nice’ shoes…no need to play dress up without the shoes!! But i’m awfully glad to have feet!!

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