Voting with One’s Wallet – by Nancy Sliwa

In Nancy's Writings by Nancy Sliwa

Letter to the Editor
White Salmon Enterprise
April 20, 2003
A recent editorial opinion piece expressed dismay over the publicized boycott of the Dixie Chicks and the cancellation of the anniversary celebration of the Baseball Hall of Fame due to political disagreement with Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon. While I sincerely agree that we all should respect each other’s differences of opinion and our right to express them, I think the writer has missed a larger point.
In a capitalistic democratic society such as ours, each citizen has not only the right, but also the responsibility, to “vote with our dollars.” Just as we should vote at the polls for elected representatives, our consumer dollars should express our “vote” for the products, both material and intangible, that we as consumers value. I always try to choose to buy the better-valued product at the supermarket, one with higher quality for less cost. I choose to shop at stores that carry local fruit and other local products. I choose to support charities I believe in. Likewise, I choose not to buy the products of those companies that show poor environmental or social judgment (killing dolphins or using child porn in advertisements, for example).
Just as the Dixie Chicks have every right to say what they believe, I have every right not to buy their product. Moreover, I think I have the responsibility not to buy their product if I sincerely disagree with their world-view, just as I do not buy rap songs with obscene and nihilistic lyrics, or movies out of Hollywood with unacceptable content.
All Americans need to thoughtfully exercise this voting strength of our dollars. It is our everyday way of shaping our world for good.
Nancy Sliwa
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