04 August 2012

Denial Runs Deep

I was talking to my brother-in-law the other day and learned an important lesson about denial.

Lee worked at an appliance manufacturing plant in a nearby industrial city for 15 years. NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement) came along and the plant had to close. The company gave its workers one and a half years' notice, promised help with finding new jobs, and offered generous severance packages.

Over the next 18 months, Lee was busy researching how to start his own business and figured his coworkers were making similar efforts to ensure employment. The day before the plant was due to shut down, however, Lee asked about 30 people what their plans were — and many replied, "Oh, I'm not worried. The plant's not going to close." Some thought that because the plant had, due to financial difficulties, shut down and reopened in the past, it was going to pull the same stunt this time. Idle threats, they said.

But the plant did indeed shut down (are you starting to see the climate change allegory here?) and dozens and dozens of workers, because of their denial, found themselves unemployed. As their severance pay savings disappeared, and then their unemployment insurance ran out, those in denial became more and more depressed and immobilized. Those who had planned for the closure moved to their new opportunities and kept working.

I often wonder, even if we don't want to fight the greenhouse-gas-spewing powers-that-be, why we're not willing to be proactive ... hells bells, REactive! ... to protect our own families, to ensure our own survival, to show our children that we love them.

Have we been so numbed and dumbed by our culture, so "impotentized" (I just made that word up) that we can't stick up for ourselves and our kids? I guess we have become a society of unthinking wusses, pure and simple. And I'm thinking (hoping, praying) that maybe insults will help spur people to wake up from their stupor!

No comments:

Post a Comment

I would appreciate hearing your thoughts or questions on this post or anything else you've read here. What is your take on courage and compassion being an important part of the solution to the climate change emergency?