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The World At Hand

February 18th, 2008 | Posted by pftq in Essays | #
  Day after day, millions of Americans worry over the most miniscule of problems.  From children to fully-grown adults, the average citizen just fails to concern themselves with significant tasks, fails to put more time where time is needed, fails to see the meaning of life.  As toddlers, they worry over troubling matters such as loss of candy or the horrors of having to share with fellow peers.  As children, they fight over the ownership of poorly-crafted plastics and cheat each other over debts of up to a quarter.  As teenagers, they stress for days over the look of their hair, cause the biggest fuss over the color of their shirt, debate with all their might over the quality of their socks, which they promptly toss aside after a day's wear.

  Upon reaching adulthood, these same individuals only double their attitudes; their issues remain more or less of the same importance.  Ownership can no longer be resolved in small quarrels; they are now taken to court.  Cheating becomes a lifestyle, a way of business.  Fashion becomes the topic of news, press, and publicity.  Despite the age difference, despite the advance in "maturity", all things remain quite the same.

  We try to enlighten ourselves to broader areas like global warmth, animal rights, feeding the ducks, and chewing gum.  We try to emphasize our passions for such heated issues by pouring millions of dollars in donations, by protesting and marching for days or weeks on end, by driving in circles or causing traffic jams to bring awareness to the cause.

  Yet, so often, regardless of age and experience, we overlook issues of far more importance.  Who cares about the ownership of a misplaced housecat when people are so busy putting claims on everyone else's possessions? What does it matter if your eyebrows are an inch or two short if they expose your every thought and can be used against you? Why put so much effort into betting on the outcomes of other people's lives when you cannot even predict your own? Why stress over keeping the world warm when you yourself are out in the cold? Why fight for animal rights when you can barely fight for your own?

  There are far more troubling matters in the world than one can imagine, but somehow we manage to remain ignorant to most of them.  Has one ever considered the future of society itself, rather than the health of the world as a whole? Where would politics come into play when human lives are in danger everyday from soybean overdose? How long will it be before we realize that our food supplies are tainted, that we indulge in cows with Alzheimer's, that we allow our children to feast on chickens and penguins that cannot fly, that the very grain we eat has been reprocessed thousands of times over until it is no longer grain but oatmeal, that the potato, the very potato, is not even round, not even ovalish, but deformed?

  What reason do we have to allow the potato to be abused in such a way? The very look of the sacred potato invokes pity to even the most stone-hearted of fellows, defines sadness and remorse like no other fruit before it, shocks and terrifies the bravest of souls.

  Just what has the potato done to deserve this? Nothing.  The potato has done nothing but become the victim of our misdeeds, the subject of our violence, the burden of sins.

  Year after year, the potato endures nothing but hardship.  From birth in a nest of pesticides to death at the hands of the local butcher, the potato protests ever so solumnly, without ever a spoken word, without a hint of resistence, like an expert practitioner in the art of nonviolence.  Not even Mother Nature gives the potato even the slightest respect.  While we concern ourselves so dearly with elaborate colors of clothing, the potato is given nothing but an earthly brown, the color of dirt.

  We so often put strain on the meaning of equality, of freedom.  The human can run; the penguin can fly.  The cricket can hop; the goldfish has sonar.  Yet, what can the potato do? It can roll.

  And where it rolls, it has no control.  As the greedy potato hunter reaches to pluck, the potato attempts to flee, to roll, but it rolls right into the hunter's grasp.  The poor potato is then tossed into crowded trucks, not even allowed a seat but forced to reside in the trunk.  The less fortunate would then be lined up for deathrow as they are led into a series of high-pressure chambers, boiled 'till their very skin dissolves, as they are chopped, grinded, and shredded to pieces without ever a chance to say goodbye; not even in death can they rest in peace for their remains are then cooked, fried, and burnt beyond repair.  On the other hand, those who manage to avoid this predicament are sent to markets where they only delay the inevitable, waiting in fear on grocery aisles for consumers far less experienced in potato slaughtering, where death would be slow and painstaking as well as sloppy and joe.

  What kind of society do we live in when we allow such horrifying acts to occur? We worry over animal rights but what about potato rights? Potato abuse? Do we discriminate against the potato just because it is a fruit? Or because it is weak and inferior, disabled without any means of travel? We try to remain civilized and dignified as mankind, but how can we do so when we remain ever so barbaric, when we fail to see the line between good and evil, when we fail to respect the potato?
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