Tuesday's discussion on how to live in a society with these inequities helped me realize what Ammon Hennacy might have meant when he told Bruce that nonviolence meant laying down the weapons of privilege, not just abstaining from directly harming other people.
See, I feel that I live my lifestyle on the exploitation of others, present and future (past, too, but there's not much I can do for them). It's so obvious--I don't labor but I enjoy the product of other people's labor; my purchases wreck the environment in ways that affect poorer community's health and the viability of the future for everyone--but the poor disproportionately.
I can say it's not my fault, that it's the system, and that's true on a level. But I feel compelled to dedicate myself to righting those wrongs. I'm not there yet--don't know what I want to work toward and still developing the self-discipline--but I think meeting some of the people in this class has helped me realize it really is possible to try.
I grew up thinking that everyone felt the same way as I do but had good practical reasons for not taking action, so I shouldn't set out on such a path either, but since then I've realized that a lot of people do take action and that a lot of other people don't necessarily care very much. Oh, and that there are serious practical obstacles, but that's true for pretty much everything in life.
My father is virulently opposed to me prioritizing anything above my own economic success, and my mother is distressed by my lack of political apathy. It's good to know I'm not as absolutely insane as they think I am, or at least that I have company. It still seems bordering on absurd to imagine that I can or would really achieve something as momentous as "laying down the weapons of privilege," but it sounds like a fine ideal.