I love elections. I love clicking the button to “cast my vote.” It’s as if I have a say in all the things around me. As if my thoughts could actually affect the culture of society around me and the future of my children. I truly believe, as I’ve said before, that voting is a moral obligation but sometimes it feels like voting once every four years (or even every two years) isn’t enough to make my voice heard.
The good news is you and I don’t have to wait for a major election to roll around every four years to cast our vote. It’s so simple, the way we can make a difference, yet it’s something we don’t think about. Something that doesn’t always land on our intentional radar.
It really is simple to make your voice heard often. You probably do it weekly, maybe even daily. You may do it out in town or possibly you do it while still in your pajamas, tucked in bed. Maybe you do it with friends or you’re the brave sort that does it with your kids or maybe you use it as a way to get a little alone time. Maybe you do it intentionally, with a list and a budget, or maybe you’re a bit more spontaneous.
However you do it, you do it. It’s buying…aka shopping. Yep, shopping.
Where we cast our dollars, we cast our voice.
Think of it as a second vote. A chance to voice your opinion daily. The companies you choose to spend your money with and the items you choose to buy become a reflection of your own thoughts. You preach about ethical work conditions and American made products, yet chances are you’ve bought plastic China made toys and clothing made who knows where in what conditions and you haven’t thought twice about it. Or, maybe, you have thought about it but then decided that saving a few dollars made it worth sacrificing your principles. Is it really? Because each of those little choices influences our culture on a much wider scale over time. It’s like your financial professor told you, “every penny counts,” except here it’s not about counting every penny to build a nest egg, it’s about making your pennies count toward something much bigger. A cultural tidal wave always starts small.
It really comes down to being intentional. It’s about knowing your principles, deciding what you believe is important and then intentionally putting your money where your mouth is.
Maybe you gripe about the job market in America. Maybe you gripe about customer service. Maybe you gripe about ethical work conditions. Maybe you gripe about not having a downtown filled with cute boutiques. Maybe you gripe about not knowing the people you’re buying from. Maybe you gripe about the quality of the products you bring home.
Stop griping. Do something about it. Be intentional.
Visit your local farmer’s market. Shop locally. If you tend to be conservative about major issues, visit 2nd Vote and shop accordingly. If you’re fed up with customer service, then stop shopping there. It’s that simple. If you aren’t satisfied with the quality of the products you’re buying, maybe you need to consider who’s making them and where they’re coming from.
Nobody controls your wallet except you. No one is going to force you to hand over those precious earned dollars (with the exception of the IRS). You get to choose where those dollars are spent. Choose to be intentional.