aNewDomain — A whine is not an effective protest.
Burning an AT&T service wagon is a whine against incoming President Donald Trump. It isn’t a protest that will achieve anything that matters.
Street protests won’t get Trump to put aside the sorts of racist, misogynistic and anti-science policy changes he threatens.
No, if you really want to protest Trump, there’s only one way to do it. And that’s to stop shopping.
That’s right. Boycott Black Friday. Forgo Christmas shopping. Just #CancelXmas in a commercial sense altogether. Buy nothing non-essential this holiday season — or longer, if necessary.
It will be hard. But it will work. It might be the only weapon left.
Look, America is a country run by money and driven by money. All major decisions relate to money. If corporate America sees a loss of profit or increased costs, it always responds. It has to: Preservation of shareholder value is its sole motivation.
If all the people who are telling themselves — and telling their kids — that they stand in opposition to the election of Donald Trump as president, a true boycott of national proportions will work.
Only a protest on this scale will show the nation’s power brokers how serious you are. And it can do a lot more than just raise awareness. If this boycott has a specific goal, say, of getting rid of the antiquated Electoral College or forcing Trump to axe the alt-right extremists from his staff or making sure the US keeps working to abate climate change, you will see the changes you want before you know it.
There are a lot more anti-Trump Americans than pro-Trump Americans. And their buying power is much, much larger.
Why it will work
The Dow Jones Industrial Average has risen steadily since the election. So, corporate America must love the result. And why shouldn’t it?
Candidate Trump promised to take the most pro-business country in the developed world and make it even more pro-business. Trump promises to cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans, cut regulations for food safety and net neutrality, cut legal protections for workers, cut consumer protection and cut progress toward stemming global warming. Big business has got to love it. I mean, what’s not to love?
And yes, as a commenter on Twitter, pointed out, a holiday shopping boycott would hit Pres. Barack Obama’s financial numbers. That’s okay. If anti-Trump protesters make it very clear they are targeting Trump and his policies, not current leadership, Trump’s people will get the message.
The thing is to start the boycott now, so you can nip anti-science or racist Trump policies and people before they harm anything.
Fighting the corporate takeover
Make no mistake about it: Trump’s election amounts to a corporate takeover of the federal government.
Tired of buying politicians through campaign donations, the surrogates in Washington have simply been absorbed into a large corporate confederation. No need for lobbyists when the corporates and their alt-right foot soldiers directly run the enterprise. That’s one way to drain the swamp. I guess.
There’s one way you can stop it. It’s the only way. It’ll hurt, but it’ll work.
There’s no law that says you have to buy stuff
If a sizeable portion of the country stops buying stuff, corporations will feel the pain immediately. And they’ll put pressure on the Trump administration to do anything that could stop the boycott.
As profits sink, corporate America will first respond with an advertising blitz for their products followed by incentive sales offers.
You’ll ignore all of this if you really want change.
At some point, Corporate America will burn even more money on something like a “Morning in America” ad blitz where they try to sell a recovery that hasn’t happened. This will cost money.
You’ll ignore that, too.
It bears repeating that folks who don’t support Trump have far greater disposable incomes than the folks who did.
Plus, there are a lot more of them.
Corporations will see the writing on the wall. A nationwide freeze on shopping during the No. 1 shopping season will impact profits to such a degree that they’ll have no trouble getting in line and using their hefty influence on US government to help you get whatever you want.
And if it doesn’t work at first, you can keep doing it in more targeted ways.
Rest assured, there’s no law that says you have to buy stuff. You won’t go to jail. But not buying stuff will be infinitely more effective than any other protest method available to you.
But What About Christmas?
That’s going to be easier than you think.
Maybe you’ve already been thinking of ways to underscore to your kids just how dangerous you feel Trump will be for women, minorities and anyone else who doesn’t fit in with the white-supremacist agenda his new chief of staff, Steve Bannon, champions.
Maybe you’ve been looking for a message you can send them that shows just how frightening his anti-science stances on climate change are?
You’ve found it.
Make this year’s holiday celebration an old-fashioned, beautiful one. Take the money you saved on plastic toys, expensive electronics, video games and other junk and spend it on memorable experiences for the whole family. (Just don’t buy airplane tickets, travel gasoline, or stay in corporate-owned hotels.)
Think local. Museums. Parks. Family dinners. Puzzles. Plays. Music.
You might also give donations to grass roots organizations that actually do some good.
In the New Reality, these organizations will be even more important than they have been in the past. Plus you’ll get a tax deduction and that lowers government revenue.
Just make sure you donate to an authentic grass roots organization, and the only way to guarantee authenticity is to donate locally. You might want to donate to an organization that helps displaced workers, as things might get nasty before this all done. Corporations will use their employees as human shields if it’s necessary to preserve shareholder value.
Because you won’t be going to movies or professional sports events — that’s buying, too — you’ll have extra time. Put it to good use and make sure your family grasps the import of this ultimately rebellious act.
And have fun. Doing well, as they say, is the best revenge.
If you can’t bear to go without sports, take in a local high school game. They’re often more exciting anyway. For a movie substitute, visit a local theater production. Patronize local musicians.
Think about your goals. What do you want?
The protest needs an object. There are a lot of choices, but how about a constitutional amendment to ditch the electoral college?
That would go some way to make the country fairer and more democratic.
The electoral college thwarted not only a would-be Pres. Clinton, but also would-be presidents like Gore, Tilden, Jackson (the first time), and Pres. Cleveland (the second time).
Except for Jackson, the electoral college has always worked against the relatively more progressive candidate, emphasis on “relatively.”
Hmm. What does that suggest?
Other goals those protesting Donald Trump could get behind: Barring any white supremacist figure from a role in the new administration, demanding that the U.S. stay on board with climate change policies domestically and internationally, ensuring that women retain control over their bodies, making sure the stupid wall never gets built and, well, the list goes on and on.
It’s a page out of Gandhi’s book
Most of Gandhi’s protests for Indian independence involved product boycotts – and this tactic worked to bend the world’s largest empire to accept Indian independence.
Gandhi’s Salt March rattled British colonial officials and served as a rallying point for further independence protests. Who knew that simply not buying salt could have such an impact. His general boycott of British goods, including British cloth, proved devastating to the British, and was the critical element that drove India’s independence movement forward.
Who knew that simply not buying stuff could have such an impact?
The question is whether Americans have the guts and persistence to do it. Corporate America is counting on your addiction to their stuff. Don’t let them push you around. You’re officially free.
For aNewDomain, I’m Tom Ewing.
Cover image: LoopLR.com, All Rights Reserved; Inside images: FergFamilyAdventures, All Rights Reserved; TheDenverChannel.com, All Rights Reserved; Empower Network, All Rights Reserved; Vidsich, CC BY 3.0, All Rights Reserved; Phaidon, 2002., Public Domain, All Rights Reserved.
Note: For a list of all anti-Trump boycotts going on as of Nov. 16, 2016, see this Google Doc from the folks at #GrabYourWallet. –Ed.