What You Preach
[Re: Letters, "Not So Simple," Oct. 15-21] Jim, Jim, Jim, Jim ... Don is changing the world, and very effectively.
No change has ever happened without a movement of people changing the way they live their lives, one by one. Most think that if they just pass the right bill or get enough people to gather on the National Mall, then things will change. That’s a fantasy. The Civil Rights Act and March on Washington were but culminations of decades' worth of work from the ground up. Our real power is in what we support and what we propagate with the rhythms of our daily lives.
Making money and giving it away is indeed very commendable, but it does nothing to challenge the predetermined ideas of wealth that are destroying this world. We have been suckered into judging our self-worth by how many cars we own or the square footage of our homes. We have been suckered into believing that our security comes from guns and bombs. Don is challenging these fallacies with his life, and by doing so he is undercutting the forces that have driven us to the crisis we now find ourselves in. This man preaches through word and deed that our true self-worth is in our capacity to give and affirm life, and that our true security is in the hands of the other.
And if we don’t change the way we live, and the trunkless legs of Ozymandias are again covered by sand, Don will have played the critical role of the Prophet. Those responsible will not be able to say there was nothing that could have been done or that everyone was swept up by some inevitable fever of insanity. They will be condemned by Don’s life, and the many others who live like he does. This is the real reason why he is mocked.
So who of us is really in denial?
Simply Living, or Living Simply?
Read the letter from Don titled "The Don on Simplicity" [Oct. 8-14]. On the surface it may seem that Don has a good way of living. If one works to live the life he has chosen, his efforts entitle him to it, regardless of what others may thinks of it. Be it a castle or a 12-foot-by-14-foot apartment. Yet I would ask, what has he done for his follow man?
I would point out that I need only plant one or two tomato plants for my needs, yet I plant five so I may have enough to share. Don seems to have got caught up in one of Americans' most common and worst vices, complaining about what others are or are not doing. I have been to a great deal of the world and have seen and lived with those that have less than they need. The biggest complaint is not that Americans steal and hog 25 percent of the world's resources; rather, we have set ourselves up as examples of how others should live their lives. Your pledge is hollow and has no impact on those in need.
Most of the world's poor live in cardboard or mud shacks. Right here in Albuquerque we have those that have less, and I have yet to meet anyone that would not change their situation.
The pen may be mightier then the sword, but I say put down your pen and leave your 12-foot-by-14-foot mansion and come down and help feed the hungry.
Your labors are of greater value than your words. When someone has a leak in their roof, you don't tell them how to clean up the puddle, you help fix the roof.
As simply as Don is living, he seems to be living simply for himself.
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