I don’t like to talk politics very often because my faith in our current system is waning by the day. Politics can seem depressing when thinking about the right to vote. The right to vote for political candidates I don’t even want seems to be almost antagonistic. There is this “carrot” of freedom related to our choice and power of the right to vote. Recently, I have realized that I possess more freedom and power in my pocket book than I do in my pen.
Does it really matter what box I check on election-day? Will a change in candidate or party really make that much of a difference in the issues that matter to me? I don’t think so.
I think the power comes in my role as a consumer. I vote every time I make a purchase. Every time I decide to buy a product that is American made, I vote for more jobs in my country. When I purchase an item using quality as my guide and not price, I vote for higher paying wages. I vote for an ecologically responsible and humane method of agriculture every time I purchase non-GMO, pesticide and herbicide free produce and grass-fed dairy or meat. Every time I purchase directly from the local growers or ranchers at farmer’s markets I vote for to reduce society’s carbon footprint and support small business. I vote for a reduced dependence on fossil fuels every time I purchase a ticket for public transportation. I also vote for this oil independence whenever I purchase items packaged in paper, glass or recycled materials. Every time I purchase fair-trade chocolate or coffee I vote to end modern day slavery.
What and how much you buy can have a huge impact on the future of our world. Sometimes what you purchase is not just about the financial costs. In fact, I believe what I buy is less about the money and more about the impact I have on human rights, health, the environment, animal welfare, community involvement, and social justice.
If we as a nation want real food, then every ounce of money we spend on food should vote to support that cause. Many people know the power of the pocket book, and yet continue to “vote” for things they don’t support such as animal cruelty and genetically modified food. There are people in my own family who purchase conventionally raised feed lot beef and chicken because they “just can’t stomach paying $25 for a whole chicken”. My solution to such a predicament would be to reduce the amount of meat consumed and only eat it when I could afford to pay for pastured and grass-fed.
As Albert Einstein once said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”
To quote the site www.betterworldshopper.com
“As these power centers shift, we must shift our own voices if we wish to be heard. As citizens, on average, we might vote once every 4 years, if at all. As consumers, we vote every single day with the purest form of power…money.
The average American family spends around $18,000 each year on goods and services. Think of it as casting 18,000 votes every year for the kind of world you want to live in.”
Now, am I saying that we should become apathetic citizens not involved in our own political system? No, but much of our power exists in our pocketbook. As with every issue, there are “two sides to the coin”. As citizens the solution is not to buy more, but to make smarter purchases; in addition, we need to be involved in more than just our national elections. We need to write letters, and peacefully demonstrate against and for issues we believe in strongly. If you have time, please watch the video below that talks about how we might really make a change.