As an American, I exercise my citizenship and participate in the country and its economy with the various apparatus available to me: I work, shop, vote, complain, try to be productive during (or wile away) my free time, go to sleep, wake up and do it all over again the next day.
For work, I lead a team of researchers, write process and procedures manuals, and use LEAN and Six Sigma tools to improve processes. I don’t talk much about any of that here.
With my consumption, beyond the necessities, I mostly buy photography-related things with my meager disposable income: books, gear, prints, etc. In order to convert some of my consumption into production, I write reviews of different things I acquire:
- I make unboxing videos of photobooks, lenses, and cameras, and sometimes review them
- I shoot a variety of film stocks, and try to talk about their different characteristics, developers, techniques and the softwares I use
- I try to give thorough reviews of other pieces of gear or things that I find interesting
I vote at the ballot box every chance I get, but most of my voting takes place with my wallet. Like most other Americans, my power here is limited, but I exercise it with all of my power. I push against anything that prioritizes profit over people and anything that marginalizes individuals or groups for any reason. Most of this happens in my private life, but I sometimes exercise my right to complain here.
But I’m not just a worker/consumer/voter: I’m a proud and patriotic American. I sometimes disagree with what our elected leaders do and how we, as a country and people deal with each other and with other nations and peoples, and, as a Muslim and an American I have a duty to speak up when I see something wrong.
As reported by Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri, the Prophet, peace be upon him, said:
Whoever amongst you sees an evil, he must change it with his hand; if he is unable to do so, then with his tongue; and if he is unable to do so, then with his heart; and that is the weakest form of Faith.
It’s hard for me, but I must speak the truth, put my body in the way, and fear only God.