SAVING LA - Frankly, I’m fed up with politicians telling me, “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good,” when they really mean you better not get in the way of them serving some special interest at the public expense.
I’m dismayed at seeing young people with Skullcandy in their ears, fiddling with an iPad mini while groping to answer their smart phone. Are they zombies programmed by unknown forces somewhere out in cyberspace?
I’ve had it up to here with “progress.” Who needs a $100-billion bullet train? Are bigger, smaller, brighter, lighter, faster, sleeker really better? Do we really need same-day delivery of every product we buy?
Call me a Luddite, call me an old fogey, but I’ve decided to make a stand, to make my No. 1 New Year’s resolution the launching of a new movement — No-Change.com.
I bought that website earlier this year in a fit of frustration as an outlet for my angst over the failure of government at all levels to face the realities of our time like the fundamental economic changes taking place and the public’s refusal to exercise their power to demand what they want.
It was going to be satiric, a biting commentary on planned obsolescence and change for change’s sake. But all this fiscal cliff nonsense and political blackmail to squeeze more money out of my wallet without fixing anything that’s broken has convinced me to play No-Change.com straight.
It’s not that I like things just the way they are or that everything was better the way it used to be — although some things really were better decades ago, and there are a lot of great things about the way we live today, like the artificial lenses in my eyes that not only replaced the cataract-damaged natural ones but left me no longer needing glasses.
But Windows 8 vs. Windows 7, iPhone 5 vs. iPhone 4 — do the changes really enhance our lives, or are they merely a way to add to the profits of mega-corporations by conditioning us to believe that we can’t live without the latest bells and whistles?
It seems to me 99% of so-called “progress” isn’t progressive at all, it’s just a commercial gimmick. We need to perfect what we got, to make perfect all the amazing tools of technology and medicine, to make life here on earth better for everyone — humans, animals, plants, the oceans, the land and the skies.
We don’t need to change anything at all unless it makes us healthier and happier. We just need to make the perfect the enemy of all that isn’t even good.
During last month’s election, everybody running talked about jobs, jobs, jobs and how much they cared about the middle class. But whatever deal they cut to avoid another economic calamity will almost certainly reduce Social Security and Medicare payments for millions of people who paid all their lives for those benefits and do nothing to expand opportunity for their children and grandchildren.
We are at a cultural impasse, lost in the haze of electronic blips, disconnected from our communities and even ourselves.
My own political philosophy doesn’t go beyond the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness proclaimed as unalienable in the Declaration of Independence.
Maybe we should go back to fundamentals and focus on the happiness factor that has a lot more to do with friends, family, neighbors — in a word, community — and a lot less to do with 80-inch LED television screens and the latest electronic gizmos.
Maybe we should work less and play more. Maybe we don’t need so much money to make us happy.
Maybe if we worked harder at the happiness factor, there would be enough to go around for everyone and just maybe we wouldn’t see massacres in schools or a homeless woman set on fire on a bus bench.
(Ron Kaye is the former editor of the Daily News and founder of the Saving LA Project, SLAP. Contact him at Ron@RonKayeLA.com. This piece was posted first at GlendaleNewsPress.com and at RonKayeLA.com)
Vol 11 Issue 1
Pub: Jan 1, 2013