Re: greenyes-d Digest V99 #60

Tanis Skislak (
Tue, 2 Mar 1999 19:33:58 -0800 (PST)

Dear Roger, Okay, let's wax philosophical. As you say, there probably
isn't much to be gained from Ford bashing for producing this new SUV.
And for some, the act of hurling putrid verbiage is enough of a soul
cleansing emetic that they can now go home and sleep with an easy
conscience. And I agree that Ford is meeting a consumer preference
and that the old marketing adage "The Consumer Decides" is decidedly
alive and well in America. Where I do not agree is in trying to
examine any issue or fault or consequence or relationship outside the
systems in which it exists. We are universally, unequivocally
systemic. Individuals exist within systems of families, families
within systems of communities, communities within counties, counties
within states, states within nations--this is starting to sound like
the "begats" in Genesis--nations within continents, continents within
oceans, oceans within hemispheres, hemispheres within atmospheres,
atmospheres within stratospheres, within universes, within galaxies,
withinfinity. It's all tied together and overlaid into a
multidimensional phenomena where one thing affects another. Nothing
exists in isolation: not Ford and certainly not the consumer.

Casting blame is a dishonest and complicitous act. If I may be
biblical for a moment, who indeed among us is without sin and
therefore entitled to cast the first stone? In my opinion, blaming is
a red herring ( I do love analogies). If I proclaim loudly enough
what someone else is doing, then maybe no one will question my own

It's all a issue of creating ripples in the system that flow from the
boundary of one system across the boundary of another system. We do
this by targeting that which is obvious while to give those issues
which are invisible some substance.

The trickiest part is to do this without overwhelming people so much
they tune out the message entirely. So maybe Ford isn't solely
responsible and maybe there are many more egregious acts by
corporations. Dilution is not the solution to pollution and letting
Ford go because there are so many who are guilty doesn't really serve
any purpose in my mind. Corporate America in the 1990s has even less
conscience than at any time in the last 90 years. The closest I can
come to an analogy is the beginning of the Industrial Revolution where
people were just part of the interchangeable machinery. How do we get
back to community? How to we again care about one another in this
generation and in the next? Maybe we do have the technology to fix it
but do we have the political will or the community demand? Not yet
and until we do, Ford will keep on making gas guzzling SUVs, Miller
will try to switch to nonrecyclable plastic bottles, Lexmark will
continue to fight refillable toner cartridges, ad infinitem.

In sum, is Ford to blame for all of this? No, not for all of it but
Yes, certainly for some.

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