According to the American Heritage Dictionary to boycott is “To abstain from using, buying, or dealing with, as a protest or means of coercion.” Named after Charles C. Boycott, land agent for the Earl of Erne, County Mayo, Ireland, who was ostracized by the tenants for refusing to lower the rents. I consider the act of voting to be my duty as an American citizen. I also write letters and make phone calls to politicians about issues I am passionate about. But another very effective form of communication is to vote with your money. Every day we all make decisions regarding purchases. Some are relatively minor, others are major.
The other day I picked up the Sonoma County Free Press, a left leaning publication that asked its readers what they were boycotting and why. I don’t necessarily agree with them or even know if the thinking is correct, but I was interested to hear their reasons. Here’s a short list. Snapple for having Rush Limbugh as their spokesman. Safeway for its shabby treatment of the United Farm Workers, Denny’s because of their treatment of African Americans, Exxon because of the Valdes oil spill, Anheusccher-Bush the owners of Sea World, Bud, Eagle
Brand snacks because of their treatment of marine mammals at entertainment parks, General Electric because of their involvement in conventional and nuclear weapons, Levi Strauss because they are shutting down factories in the US and moving to third world countries, any product from Norway because of their whaling activities, Crown and other large chain book stores because they are putting small, locally owned bookstores out of business, Carls Jr. because of his support for the anti-choice movement, any product from a country with repressive politics, Israel, south Korea and Taiwan for starters.
Whoa, what a list makes shopping a real challenge. When you do boycott a product, company or country you must let that entity know of your actions by writing a letter. Organized mass boycotts can work. The most recent success was with the tuna industry and the killing of dolphins. So get out there and vote, write and boycott. It is your beliefs and it’s your money.
This is Michael Ellis witha Perspective.