Dollars and Change

Justice is blind, balanced, and wields a sword

​We Americans vote once, maybe twice a year. Local education boards or city councils and state representative elections are staggered across the calendar, and all too few of us even know when they are happening. For representation at the federal level, we vote every 2 years.

So what’s a disenfranchised, fed-up citizen to do?

Vote with our dollars.

For example, Texas, Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama, and South Carolina have anti-LGBTQ legislation in the works for 2017.

Maybe this doesn’t matter to you. Maybe you’re happy about it.

But perhaps you do care, and you want to stop the steps being planned by the regressive party. Maybe that’s because you or someone you love is gay or queer or transgender. Maybe because you just don’t want to have to look your children in the eye one day and say honestly that “when they came for the gays, I did nothing, because I was not gay. And then one day, they came for you.”

If you are of the “why are we limiting anyone’s independence” set, here’s an idea: Let the companies who do businesses with regressive States know you’re not spending your dollars on the products produced in those states.

After North Carolina passed HB2, a regressive law limiting individual choice in general, and gender identity in particular, the state lost $5 billion in revenue in just 1 year through businesses whose customers just said “no.” No to hate. No to discrimination. No to misconstrued theocratic ideology. No to religious law, and yes to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, whoever you are, and however you find it.

Amazon, for example, is opening a new fulfillment center in Texas. Let them know that should Texas choose to legislate discrimination over protecting the rights of more citizens, your kindle purchases won’t be paying that bill. Let them know that freedom for ‘others’ takes nothing from any of us, but instead simply makes more people free. Let them know this matters to you, and many, many more. Call them and write them.

A few states east of the Lone Star State, Alabama is a major producer of poultry. Alabama’s SB1 is targeting trans gender persons use of businesses restrooms. The bill is targeting Target, who announced they will be changing all multi-stall bathrooms in their stores to ‘anyone can use’ restrooms.

Tyson foods might be interested in your intended switch to beef or tempeh or pork, should Alabama go retrograde in it’s social policies. Honda, Hyundai, Toyota, and Mercedes produce cars in Alabama. Let them know how you’ll be deciding on your next car purchase. You don’t have to boycott those companies, just the models they make in Alabama.

The People of Alabama voted for their legislature. Chances are that the Mercedes or Toyota, and that chicken or its eggs will be sold in California or New York.

States who voted for continued social progress make up over 80% of America’s GDP. California, were it its own country, would be the 6th largest global economy. New York would place 11th. Should the wage earners in those States alone boycott the regressive States products, those regressive State economies will suffer, and their legislatures will have to move their focus from moralizing social manipulation to economic recovery. The voters themselves will have to face the consequences of their decision to elect regressives. Texas is a huge producer and refiner of oil, so cutting back on fossil fuel based energy for cars and homes would be an effective daily protest as well.

The sad fact is, businesses have more day to day influence on our government than do citizen-voters. The bright side of this is that businesses depend on our dollars every day. When a corporation is forced to act through consumer pressure, they act, or they loose money and then, they can be sued by shareholders for mismanagement.

So consider buying a share of Toyota. The act will very likely take your money from a bank which is supporting fossil fuel exploration and pipelines, as Wellsfargo, TDBank, and Chase all provide loans (of your money) to fund these enterprises. Shares will provide you a bit of personal influence on corporate decisions. Be sure to vote your shares annually, and do not let that vote go to a shareholder pool or money market investment, where bankers exercise your vote. Shareholders also choose the board of directors.

The regressive party has shown us how to starve programs they don’t like. We’re now able, as citizens, not partisans, to starve legislation and legislators we don’t agree with, each and every day.

When people in progressive States stop buying what the regressive States are selling, the tables will turn, and a light will shine in through the realization that freedom for another citizen doesn’t take away your own freedom. Instead, it expands your own freedoms; when you vote to take away one person’s liberties, you endanger your own.

State Senator Phil Williams said of Target, after introducing Alabama SB1 which requires business having milti-sex, or gender neutral bathrooms to pay for attendants at those bathrooms: “If you are going to play that game you need to ante up and face the issue.”

Yes Mr. Williams, you and the State of Alabama, and other States who try to take from the people to give some sense of moral superiority to the few, you will need to face the consequences of your issues.

If you’re prepared to play games, ante up.

#freedomforall #2020 #voteeveryday #dollarsandsense

(originally published at: http://kevinoakes.com/2017/01/11/dollars-and-change/)