Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Liberal Guilt

Today I had lunch with a friend from high school and somehow over our wraps and iced tea, the topic of liberal guilt of came up. We both have it. That's either to be expected from two highly educated white kids from an affluent suburb or an oddity. Our other classmates seem to be on one end of the spectrum or the other. As a whole, our graduating class was given a head start in the world. We all came from fairly well-off families and we each had a solid college-prep education. For me these opportunities also come with the feeling of needing to do more for the greater good. In some sense, I feel like because I was given this head start, I should help those who weren't as lucky in the gene pool lottery.

Sometimes this feeling manifests itself in healthy ways - volunteering, donating to worthy causes and being overall empathetic. But sometimes, I just feel silly liberal guilt which doesn't help anyone much. Case in point is the whole Prius thing. I only drive about 30 miles a day and a part of me feels I should leave the Prius, because they are in such demand, for someone who needs it more and drives further each day. In the grocery store, I occasionally feel guilty for not buying organic. And don't even get me started on the conflicted feelings I have when I ride the bus.

Recently, though, a catalog came in the mail which I was thrilled to see (after I made yet another mental note to go to one of those stop junk mail sites). The catalog was from Fair Indigo, and it is all fair trade cute clothing! I think I heard the angels rejoice when I also noticed the free shipping to new customers offer. So now shipping to me from Wisconsin (somewhat local, right) is a new wrap dress, darling peasant blouse and new sandals. And best of all, I don't have to worry about the child and or sweatshop labor that went into making these clothing items. Fashion without guilt, that works for me.

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