As the recent media glut of political material dissolves into remnants of bumper stickers and drooping, forgotten yard signs, we would do well to remind ourselves that in many ways every day is an election day. Every time we expend energy, whether through our time, talents, or money, we are casting a vote for what we think is important and right. These "votes," our choices, have far-reaching, even global, implications, especially when considered collectively; the difference made by each one of us must not be under estimated. Certain issues have been given higher profiles than others, but our concern must go well beyond avoiding inexpensive garments made in sweat shops on the far side of the planet. Every purchase we make lines someone's pockets and empowers individuals and groups to support their values and beliefs.
The fact that even the greediest elements of corporate America will respond to us, as consumers, is evidenced by today's increased marketing emphasis on environmentally-sensitive products which cater to contemporary beliefs about living healthy, vital lives.
As we accept the services and products of others, we also accept the energy that went into those services. Consider the energy in a meal prepared with loving hands compared to a meal prepared by a disgruntled employee. The energy embodied in the food is taken to the center of our physical bodies, circulates for many hours, and is absorbed.
Our work for an
organization, our time and talent, serves the goals, purposes,
and values of the organization's leaders and owners. Most of
us know folks who are unhappy at work. Often this is due to the
treatment they receive. Yet their energy empowers the behavior
that undermines their well-being.
What are our savings and retirement plans doing? To be sure, they aren't stacked away like so many bricks of gold in a vault. These dollars have been lent at the discretion of someone in our financial institutions for purposes we will never truly know, unless we ask. There are, however, "socially responsible" investment options, money market funds that earn returns comparable to other savings options, but use our money to buy securities from companies with healthy employment and business practices. They may even include bonds issued by worthy causes such as orphanages.
We make more decisions
about how we spend our money when we tithe; when we buy our groceries,
our clothing, our transportation, our long distance services,
our entertainment, gifts for others; the list goes on and on.
It's easy to get lost in a struggle just to keep informed about
good prices (especially free stuff), or the latest coupon or
special or award program, and lose track of other important factors
in our choices.
In the spirit of moving toward what we want, we at The New Times would like to know about businesses and products that are particularly worthy of our patronage, businesses where integrity is important and the owners "walk the talk." We can multiply our efforts by sharing ideas so that together we make a difference in our stewardship of our planet.
Be sure to cast your "votes" wisely today, and every day. I will.
Deverick Martin is the publisher of The New Times.