Peter Roell

Peter Roell
Cathedral City, California, USA
June 13
Born June 13, 1948 at Green Point Hospital, Brooklyn, New York. Attended All Saints Catholic School, Brooklyn, New York; P.S. 78, Bronx, New York; Sts. Philip and James Catholic School (Class of 1962), Bronx, New York; Cardinal Spellman High School (Class of 1966), Bronx, New York; University of California, Berkeley, California (BA degree in Fine Art, 1969, MA degree in Fine Art, 1971). View art at: and


JULY 1, 2010 8:53PM

Our inalienable right to consume – conspicuously!

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In forging the Constitution, the founding fathers left out the most obvious and most seminal inalienable right of our great Republic's defining document; namely, the right to consume – conspicuously!  As Americans, we define ourselves in many ways, but the most universal metrics are:

·         What do you do for a living?

·         How much do you make?

·         What do you possess?

In fact, our entire system of capitalism demands upon a society that is willing to consume the latest products, gadgets, foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals, ornamentations and extravagancies simply because they are the newest. Being able to afford these baubles is not as important as being able to earn and maintain the god-given right to borrow if need be in order to possess them.  Remember to check your credit score regularly!

Even now during the Great Recession of 2007 - ? we Americans are hard-pressed to change our habits.  For example, even though the environmental dangers of petroleum are far more insidious, wouldn’t it seem reasonable to assume that the on-going oil disaster in the Gulf would result in a national effort of New Deal or World War II proportions of coming together as a people to break our mindless and destructive addiction to oil? 

Sure there are probably 14 million Americans or more currently out of work, but as a nation we continue down the path that says I buy therefore I am, I possess therefore I have value, I consume beyond my basic human needs; therefore, I am blessed!  So get that new 4G cell phone, buy that new car, purchase new clothes and ornamentation not out of necessity, but out of style.  Let’s not worry about lacking an interior life that sees us as responsible for, and involved with all of our brothers and sisters throughout the world.  Why think those types of depressing thoughts when we can wear a watch that can feed a family of four for years, maintain an erection well into our eighties, caress ourselves with the softest toilet tissue, buy clothing based upon style not functionality, and on, and on, and on.

Was it not the belief of the few that in a capitalist society those capable of making a profit off the hard work and toil of others is rewarded not only with outrageous salaries, but bonuses to boot!  To add insult to injury, these captains of finance did not worry about ripping off the working and middle class with mathematically constructed Ponzi schemes, lies and deceit because our government would - and did -  bail them out with whatever was left of our national treasure! 

We once were the envy of the world, but now I fear that we are the self -anointed consumers of a disprotionate amount of the world’s natural resources and manufactured goods because that is what the promise of America has come to represent. So what is my point?  Let us resolve to take the financial and environmental catastrophes that plague our nation as a chance to amend our ways, and not seek the previous status quo as a measure of recovery, but let us look inward – into our own God given souls – and seek to become what we are meant to be; namely, a nation of people who express our worth in the way we treat our brothers and sisters everywhere.  Pray we evolve to a nation of sharers and careers and away from conspicuous consumers and elitist.  

Starting today, regardless of your religious affiliation or the lack thereof, I encourage you to reflect on the following thoughts penned more than 1,700 years ago: 

·         The clothes in my closet belong to the naked;

·         The bread in my pantry belongs to the hungry,

·         The water in my well belongs to the thirsty,

·         The money in my safe belongs to the poor. 

Let us be a great Republic not measured by our possessions and material wealth, but by our compassion and actions towards all!

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This is great to read. I have thought this for years and I had hoped that the 2007 "economic downturn" would bring us together and get us off the "keeping up with the kardashian's" track, but I haven't seen that kind of sense entering the mainstream. So thank you for this. We are not lone wolves completely alone at least!
You have so many views on your blog! Yet so few comments and ratings!
I agree with you! We have so much STUFF we don't really need. I include myself in that statement. I do not own a cellphone, and Ipod, a WII, or an x-box.

I do have too many clothes I don't wear, I go through my closets twice a year and take a lot to goodwill and other places. I have other clothes I wear every week, and when those wear out or get too many chocolate stains, I get rid of... I oohh and aahh whenever I get one of my catalogs but these days with a dog that consistently needs new leashes and chew toys, I try to buy only what I NEED.

It's unfortunate that we can't take the message that's on the Statue of Liberty, to heart.

Very good post. I agree that we have an addiction to oil. The current problem is that we do not have an alternative source of energy that is cost-effective, right now.

As far as, becoming "a nation of people who express our worth in the way we treat our brothers and sisters everywhere" is concerned. I really believe that we are a great role model, for the world. The United States is always among the first responders, for every catastrophe that occurs. This includes our military forces, our entertainers, and citizens that are so generous with their time and money. I believe that your prayers have been answered.
I saw one of the comments here that you have a good article but there is less comment's. Well maybe its because they are agreeing on everything you said in here. Our 2011 economy now is decreasing as well as dollars equivalent of the exchange on the market. Peoples should not live too materialistic we should share everything we have especially those people who have more than others. What's next on this generation now?


My latest post : Pouf pas cher 
I enjoyed reading this. I always like to remind people that it reads "life liberty and the pursuit of happiness," not John Locke's "life, liberty, and property." There is a difference!