I’m thinking hard about how to write this. A disclaimer is necessary. Yes, I am a progressive Democrat, one of those “kale eating lefties,” as John Kass would describe me. But honestly, it’s not my political views that motivate this column. It’s a view of America from the view of a man who has seen it all but never seen anything like this!
I know that “Cheating Death” is not a blog on politics, but about adding years of joy and meaning to life. Nonetheless, taking a stand on what you believe in most assuredly gives meaning to still being around and appropriately cantankerous. And if there is one thing that is true in our material world, making a choice as to where you spend your money can make an impact.
Our political system leaves companies free to exercise their political views with hard cash donated to a candidate they back. Just as Starbucks and eBay and Universal Studios are unrestrained from donating to the Dems, Home Depot, Papa Johns, and Bass Pro Shops can align with the Republicans. I get that; I am not organizing a boycott of Home Depot because co-founder Bernie Marcus pledged to back President Trump's bid for re-election in 2020. But what I will do, is shop elsewhere for the Aqua Fresco Green color paint for my office walls.
I fully understand that taking a position on one economic or cultural ideology versus another is part of the political process. But what if the political entity you donate to props up a despot who defiles the basic democratic ethos that gave birth to our country? If a corporation has donated tens of thousands of dollars to support the Trump administration, are they not partially responsible for the consequences of their Faustian bargain?
The invasion of the Capitol on January 6th was considerably more than a “protest.” It was a Trump-incited assault aimed at overthrowing the government. Can you call it anything else after a security guard is murdered, offices trashed and someone took a camera cable, knotted it into a noose and flung it over a tree branch?
That ‘someone’ remains unknown, but there are others, well known, who are on record as publicly advocating for the man who incited the insurrection. And that includes the Ricketts family, mega-donors of just under $20,000,000 to the Trump reelection campaign… and owners of 95% of the Chicago Cubs.
I’m a loyal fan of the Cubs. But as a former friend of Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner said when distancing from them, “How do you associate yourself with the worst, most toxic people in U.S. history?”
Then there is Mike Lindel, the ‘My Pillow guy,’ a major Trump donor and Fox News advertiser, (and former drug addict recently fined a million dollars for false advertising claims). Lindell formed a close allyship with the president, with Trump referring to Lindell as a friend and loyal supporter. Why would I spend a single penny to buy one of his over-hyped, foam pillows!
Democracy runs on the simple precept that every vote counts. In the same way, if even a fraction of the dollars we spend are in support of the policies we believe in – human rights, reduction of poverty, protecting the environment - the impact is enormous.
Consider this astounding statistic (and moral commentary!): Each day American consumers spend more than $350 billion on goods and services. This is almost the same amount as the total donated to all U.S. charities in an entire year.
Plus, doesn’t it just feel better to know that your money is supporting the things you believe in?
Two web sites listing brands and services you can wholeheartedly support are “Grab Your Wallet” and “Done Good.”