To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Observercast

Stranglehold

on

BY SHARON MARTIN

Sharon MartinDo you have a credit card? I love the efficiency of my card, but every time I swipe it a billionaire or two take their cut. An airline ticket? They get a cut. A pound of pinto beans? A cut.

The real stranglehold on our economy, though, and on our lives is debt. And it’s not just credit card debt. Try to live your life without a mortgage, without a car payment. Then there’s the daily commute to earn enough to pay for the house and the car and the pinto beans.

A recent ad from a mortgage company urges young people to not be afraid of life, to not be afraid of a 30-year mortgage. Since when is life defined by a 30-year mortgage?

Of course, I once lived in a tent while my husband and I built a house. I think there are alternatives to this stranglehold on our time, our money, and our aspirations.

What job would you be happy doing for the rest of your life? Find a way to get that job and be happy. Happy is worth so much more than four bedrooms, three baths, and a two-car garage.

Spend cash, and spend it locally. If you don’t garden, buy your beans from someone nearby who does. That billionaire who gets a cut from the chickens someone else raises, another someone slaughters, and yet another cuts up and packages doesn’t need you; the CSA down the road from you does.

How about chickens in your own backyard?

How do we deal with the time warp of the morning commute! Work from home? Think of the fossil fuels that would save.

Telecommuting is one answer, but it has its own issues. In the United States, broadband connections aren’t a given and someone gets a cut off every phone call you make, every message you send, and every video conference you attend. Another stranglehold!

I depend on electronic data sharing, but maybe we can find a balance between the virtual world and the grit and beauty of the tangible world. Spend more time outdoors in a porch swing watching the kittens tumble in the yard and less time online watching cat videos. Get your hands dirty. Get sweaty.

What decisions can we make to end this false economy, this false idea of what makes an ideal life? Let’s build our own lives, our own economies. The billionaires have had enough of our sweat, our time, and our money.

Sharon Martin lives in Oilton, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer

Arnold Hamilton
Arnold Hamilton became editor of The Observer in September 2006. Previously, he served nearly two decades as the Dallas Morning News’ Oklahoma Bureau chief. He also covered government and politics for the San Jose Mercury News, the Dallas Times Herald, the Tulsa Tribune and the Oklahoma Journal.