Letter: Families feeling money crunch

Monday, June 16, 2008 | 10:00 a.m. CDT; updated 4:05 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

In the last several decades, homes have become grand expressions of our internal need to feel comforted by objects galore. Instead of being comfortable with grandma’s hand-me-down couch, we spring for another that is more decadent and less of an eye sore. And the same goes for fashion. Sometimes, it seems like we are so busy trying to keep up with the Jones’, we can barely afford rent, the mortgage, the car payment or repairs. And now, we are having to put the money where our mouth is. Unfortunately, we just cannot.

I feel awkward about being an American citizen at this time. With gas prices being so high and unemployment draining us dry, it is difficult to see a future of prosperity and peace. And I wonder if we will ever learn to unite with one another to make this country stand for what our founding fathers intended.

Consumerism is not the answer and neither is an economic stimulus. We need to reprioritize and give our power to social, economic and global solutions, rather than repairing a system of greed and right-wing propaganda. Then we could think a little easier about what we need and less about what we want.

In return, we would eventually be capable of filling our food pantries so even the less fortunate could eat nutritious foods. I am not saying our community is not doing right; I am saying we could do better. We are a very wealthy community, and if we work together more on the important issues, we will be less likely to fail as a whole.

Instead of mailing me a brown paper bag to fill up with my groceries that I can barely afford, find a way to have a food donation stand at places like Twilight Festival. Advertise those types of things to the masses, and maybe even the grocery stores could be involved in a name draw, where the people who are picked get a Hy-Vee gift certificate. All I know is that times are changing, and at one time, my family was middle class and comfortable. And now we are struggling to buy groceries, gas, and pay our energy bills.

There is something very real happening to people all around this country, and if we don’t step up and focus and see things for how they are, the people of this country will be fighting a losing battle with nature, our leaders and our government.

Thank you for giving me an opportunity to share my voice with you and the community.

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Mark Foecking June 16, 2008 | 2:43 p.m.

The first thing a lot of people need to do is step back and figure out their priorities. Often, what people feel they need is much more what they want.

The world cannot support 6 billion US style consumers. Our energy and food prices reflect this, as large amounts of people elswhere in the world start to become consumers also.

We have to get used to a future that may well be leaner in terms of material goods. But it doesn't have to be leaner in terms of those things that matter more than goods.


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