Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Balancing my dollars with my personal politics

I am an atheist. I'm a single mom. I support the equal right to marriage (and divorce :). Not only am I a liberal, but I'm fairly certain that even if I wanted to switch parties, at least some prominent members of the GOP wouldn't want me to be part of theirs.

I also sign petitions, and choose where to spend my consumer dollars based on what I know of a company's business practices, and I choose not to watch certain TV shows or movies based on what artists have said or done.

I've heard these choices and decisions of mine as denying someone their livelihood.

Well, first of all, these people seem to be doing just fine. There are a few top rated TV shows which I won't watch because of certain actors or a premise that I find personally offensive. And there are shows I don't watch because they're not my kind of shows, I've watched the show and didn't like it, or I never got into it because there are only so many hours in the day. We all make choices every day on what we watch, and we do so for our own personal reasons. I'm not obligated to make sure everyone in show business (or the shoe business or any other business) has a livelihood.

Also, some people watch these shows (or listen to that radio show) because they totally agree with that person. I recognize and acknowledge that not everyone shares my belief system. That thing they said or did might just be supporting their livelihood because others love it as much as I hate it.

I also recognize that some people love the publicity they get for saying or doing something shocking. I'm not even certain these people actually believe everything that comes out of their mouth. Sometimes, I wonder if they only say it to shock and offend...and to get higher ratings.

Lastly, my dollars and my time are exactly that: mine. I don't necessarily think that my boycott of a company will change their mind or put them out of business, but one of the benefits of capitalism is supposed to be that it's my choice as a consumer where to spend my money. I've never forced anyone else to not shop somewhere...I don't have that kind of control anyway! But just like we choose a grocery store by location, sales or coupons, we can also make choices for political reasons. If someone asked me why I don't shop somewhere, I'm happy to tell them, but I don't expect that they will join me. For all I know, someone could decide to shop there for the very reason I said I was boycotting them! On the same token, I can say no if you invite me to a certain restaurant that supported a proposition that bans equal rights.

It's not right or wrong to boycott for political reasons. It's not right or wrong to choose one service provider over another. And I'm sure these businesses and persons factor in their own behaviors with their own bottom lines. We all make choices as consumers, as citizens, as parents every single day.

The only "wrong," really, would be to presume that everyone will agree with me.

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