A Student Publication of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA


A Student Publication of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA


A Student Publication of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA


Live to Consume, Die for Nothing

Stay-home protesters are angry about the wrong thing
Graphic by Natalie Lu/SAC.Media.

With a majority of states rolling out partial or total reopenings, it may seem like we’re in the final scenes of a bad disaster movie. Despite warnings of an impending second wave, people who protest stay-at-home orders have been out in droves, and in California, are joined by anti-vaxxers (which makes sense since these folks seem to make a habit of thumbing their nose at science). Bemoaning their loss of liberty and haircuts, they took to the streets asking not for more funding for a vaccine, nor a moratorium on bill and rent collection.

They’re protesting the disruption of their lives, the inconvenience of a worldwide pandemic, the sheer burden of having to have basic human empathy for your fellow man. This, they say, is infringing on their rights, on their freedom. Although being cut off so abruptly from our everyday life is certainly challenging, it is nowhere near as difficult as actual incarceration, where you are actually stripped of your rights.

Maybe I’m biased—I don’t get to stay at home or have much time to myself. I work 30-hour weeks and in my “free time,” I’m rushing to complete classwork. Maybe I’m jaded. As a grocery store clerk, I see people break quarantine on a daily basis, to get small things like a single missing ingredient for that night’s dinner, or simply to wander the aisles. They joke about shopping withdrawals, missing the bars, mourning frivolous things. I can’t help but think that if only they had developed a personality and hobbies outside of spending money to do things, they wouldn’t have so much trouble staying in their home.

Look, I get it. From the moment we wake up and look at our phones, we’re bombarded with ads, we’re taught that consumption and keeping up with the Joneses is one of the most important, if not the most important thing in America. We don’t get to the point of people seriously considering a percentage of humanity to be expendable, all for the sake of the mighty dollar, without ignorance. We don’t find ourselves missing the ability to find fulfillment in life without consumption because we have never had to live without it.

Especially with modern-day influencer culture, where lifestyles are carefully curated around trips abroad and access to exclusive events, we base our desires around not only consumption, but conformity. We’re being taught to follow the next trend instead of seeking out what can really make us happy. We’re being taught to conform instead of highlighting our differences and individuality. It’s a selfish, greedy system that begets selfish, greedy people. It’s a many-headed being, each mouth hungrier than the last.

I know, I know, when did we end up in “They Live”? Even after the stay-at-home orders have been relaxed, people continue to demand more, for churches to open, for their regular lives to return. As far as church services go, I’m sure there’s a way to organize a service over Zoom. These restrictions on our lives require innovative solutions, not a rush to return to life B.C., Before COVID, before it is safe to do so.

I have no doubt that the stay at home order is difficult, especially for those who have unsafe or unstable homes to begin with. And for those who are without a community, or support system, this can be an extremely punishing time. I’m all for standing up for what you believe in. I’ve been waiting and hoping for the American public to realize that they are larger and more powerful than government and corporations. But I didn’t think it would be over something like this. Is it so hard to look inwards for fulfillment, to find joy in small things you do for yourself and others?

I think we all need to consider the fact that we are not the be-all-end-all center of the universe. That sometimes we are going to have to be moderately inconvenienced, and that we’re going to have to be patient. That maybe, just maybe, the needs of someone else could come before our own. That adjusting to the realities of the pandemic is more important than getting your nails done or opening the malls.

Let’s commit to picking up a nice, time-consuming hobby like knitting or calligraphy and start getting angry about real issues. Like maybe, the utter failings of the American government to provide a strong, unified plan to help their citizens. Maybe we can start there.

Leave a Comment
About the Contributor
Lux Montes
Lux Montes, Editor in Chief
Lux Montes is the former editor in chief of Substance Magazine, and a senior staff reporter for SAC.Media  They are two eight year olds in a trench coat pretending to be an adult. They adore Halloween episodes of TV shows, cheesy horror movies, and “Weird Al” Yankovic.

Comments (0)

All SACMedia Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *