still not buying anything today

Stewart and I have declared today a Buy Nothing Day. Hooray! So far, so good. No impulse buys. No debits or dexits. I like it because the day feels more meaningful; it just hangs together better when I put my consumer self on hold for awhile. And since I’m sort of broke right now, the break from spending can only be good.

Last night we were musing about urban, industrial life, how it’s not so subtle subtext is SPEND, SPEND, SPEND! It made me think about my greatgrandparents Fred and Lizzie who had a farm and raised mules in Missouri. I imagine most days were Buy Nothing Days, though I can’t see them calling them such. Buy Something Days were probably a lot more of a novelty. I remember Gran saying they rode out the Depression fine because they grew their own food. We had a hard enough time finding something tasty to eat during the blackout of 2003.

Country Love

On a Thursday night a few months back, I saw a conscientious objector from South Dakota at the University of Toronto. Before I saw him in person, I had heard Jeremy Hinzman’s name in Quaker circles and then on a CBC radio program which narrated stories of Vietnam and Iraqi war resisters in Canada. Hinzman’s quietly humorous voice had impressed me, especially when recounting his “reason for visit” to immigration officials at the Canadian border: “We’re going to visit Friends.” Luckily the border staff didn’t detect the implied F, but if they had noticed it might have spelled trouble for the visitor and his family, for these kind of Friends welcome fugitive soldiers, even shelter them in their homes, just as they did for Underground Railroad refugees more than a century ago.

As an American who immigrated to Canada via Britain, I sympathize with Hinzman’s plight and agree with his position on the war. That’s why I was so keen to hear the views of a former US military insider. I have also shared some aspects of Jeremy’s situation, such as sheltering at the Society of Friends’ Meeting House when I first came to Toronto almost three years ago. Although I was fleeing isolation from my family instead of a command to fight in Iraq, I think displacement is universally disorienting. Moreover, as a peaceful American and daughter of a Navy man, I wanted to learn more about Hinzman’s experience.
Continue reading Country Love

… by Catherine Raine