Saturday, December 25, 2004 Is For Republicans

This is the best thing I've read in a long time. PLEASE read: Is For Republicans

Attention, liberal shoppers! Next year, screw those GOP-supportin' companies, and try buying blue

by Mark Morford - SF Gate Columnist

Do you care much that greasy ol' Pizza Hut gave tens of thousands in PAC money to the GOP last year? How about the fact that Taco Bell stopped pumping out their happily toxic semirancid meatlike substances just long enough to write a fat check to the conservative Right? Isn't that weirdly fascinating, in a depressing and indigestible sort of way?

Does it matter a whit that, say, Fruit of the Loom underwear gave nearly 100 percent of its corporate donations to tighty-whitey-wearing Republicans, nearly every one of whom I'm guessing wouldn't know appetizing undergarments from a flap of burlap and some string?

Do you think maybe it should? Matter, that is?

This is what happened: there was this list, see, a long and rather surprising list of major consumer corporations in America, and it detailed just how much money each company forked over to the respective political parties last year in political-action-committee (PAC) donations.

Stop yawning. It gets better.

And the list was a bit revelatory and interesting, as such lists are often wont to be, and the companies' fiscal behavior might even surprise you a little, might even take you aback and make you reconsider your consumerist options, especially the part about how gave 60 percent of their donations to the GOP and except maybe for the part about how Coors Brewing gave almost every penny of their donations to Republicans in a concerted effort to, presumably, stop them icky Colorado gays from getting married and keep women in their place, all while furthering the cause of skanky undrinkable pisswater beer made for red-blooded Americans who lack taste buds and hope.

And this list, it recently winged its way around the Net and landed in a million liberal e-mail boxes and it became an instant mini sensation, and then did what any good electronic sensation does: it spawned a Web site.

And the site, called (along with its more detailed but less intuitively named counterpart,, spawned a mini movement and the mini movement spawned this very column and now you are right now encouraged to go see for yourself and discover the moderately shocking truths regarding which big shiny companies suck up to the happy sneering homophobic enviro-slappin' warmongering Repubs and which give thousands to the whiny limping kick-us-when-we're-down Demos.

And then what? Just what are you supposed to do with this information? Well, like any good American living in a gutted economy that's trillions in debt, all while a massive bogus unwinnable war is being waged by the most irresponsible cadre of pseudo-leaders this nation has ever known, you go shopping.

But maybe, just maybe, you shift your choices just a little. Maybe you change where your weakened and abused dollar goes as it slowly dawns on you that you might not be as powerless as you might've thought.

And maybe you recognize that if there's one thing that corporations absolutely goddamn never fail to respond to in a million years, it's the bottom line, consumer satisfaction, the almighty but increasingly limp dollar. You think?

Because I don't care how shriveled the souls of a given company's GOP-lovin' board of directors are, if they see profits dropping because all the shoppers in the huge and culturally potent blue cities -- the shoppers, in other words, who don't live in the red welfare states and hence who actually have a shred of disposable income and maybe a modicum of concern and integrity regarding who profits when they spend it -- if they notice that those shoppers are suddenly skipping nasty little Circuit City (98 percent to Repubs) and instead buy their compressed-plastic Japanese-made landfill-ready electronics at monstrous Price Club (98 percent to Dems), well, it sends them a message.

And the message is, in a calm and respectful nutshell, "Bite me."

Because this is what I get asked all the time: What can I do? How can I possibly help stop the ominous onslaught of born-again right-wing hypocrisy and fear and the Parents Television Council and all the bogus Texas machismo now flooding the nation like a bad country song? Here is part of your answer.

And no, it ain't exactly like marching in the streets and it ain't exactly as helpful as shifting your lifestyle over to organic foods and sustainable living and to buying local and supporting hybrid this and recyclable that, all while cranking your alt-spiritual vibration and having spectacular and deeply nonconservative sex.

But it's something. It's a start, a baby step. It is about getting informed, just a little, and realizing that you are, in fact, the fuel for America's economic engine, and if you decide to get yourself into massive credit card debt at the right kind of stores instead of those whose executives apparently believe that God really does hate gays and trees and women and the poor and anyone who wears a turban or speaks French, well, maybe it will make you feel just slightly more aligned and maybe it can make a tiny bit of difference and Goddess knows a difference is so desperately needed right now you can't even believe it.

What can you do? You can skip the Marriott or the Holiday Inn (76 and 73 percent to the GOP respectively), and stay at the lib-friendly Hyatt. Skip (58 percent to the GOP -- what the hell?) and head over to Google, which gave 100 percent (!) of their donations to the Dems (side note: Google rules).

What else? Toss American and Continental, fly JetBlue. Join NetFlix. Screw Repub-lovin' Wal-Mart and K-Mart (and, if you're reading this column, chances are you need no prompting from me to avoid those epic karmic wastelands) and head over to the giant vortex of consumer madness known as Bed Bath & Beyond, which gave 93 percent to the Dems. I know. I hate that store, too. But now you get to hate them a little less.

Another amazing example? Starbucks. And as much as I despise their ruthless march into funky neighborhoods and strip malls across the nation, the coffee monolith does indeed have truly fabulous employee benefits and incredible customer service, and now you learn that they gave 100 percent of their donations, every single frothy frappaccinoed dime, to the Democrats. It's true. So leave that hideous Folgers and the Sanka swill to jittery BushCo. Go get yourself a peppermint mocha and feel good about it.

As for Amazon, well, it is a bit distressing for many of us who love that bulbous megastore and who shop there all the time to discover that they gave so much to Repubs, which is just odd and a bit inexplicable, especially given how they're based in hugely liberal Seattle and geeky CEO Jeff Bezos seemed at one time to be reasonably attuned and quirky and progressive, except maybe he's not.

Maybe he's just another hollow profiteer who supports war and disses foreigners and thinks gays are, you know, icky. But then again, Amazon did give 40 percent to Democrats. So it's a close call. After all, the venerable and terminally annoying Barnes & Noble gave 98 percent to the Dems, and I can't stand Barnes & Noble. But now, like Starbucks, I hate them a little less. And now maybe I'll just skip Amazon and buy my next gift copy of "The Surrender" or "What's the Matter with Kansas?" or "The Book of Bunny Suicides" from B&N instead.

See? See how easy? Baby steps, people. Baby steps.

Thoughts for the author? E-mail him.

NOTE: Mark's column will be on holiday break until January 5.
Mark's column archives are here.

1 comment:

Snave said...

That's a great article. Thanks! I bookmarked the shoppers' websites.

We don't have a lot of chain stores where I live, and the only grocery stores are Safeway and Albertson's (the small privately-owned groceries were put out of business years ago.) We don't have Trader Joe's (which I love) here, so... Guess those are excuses for me to eat less food and lose some weight, eh.

As for books, when I order online I buy about half from Amazon and half from B&N.

About five times a year we drive a couple of hours to Kennewick, WA to shop there. We always go to the B&N store and spend freely. When we were in Kennewick last week we got a membership at their Costco, so we can start buying things in bulk that we would ordinarily be tempted to buy at our local Wal-Mart. Kennewick has a Red Lobster and an Outback, and I doubt we'll stop eating at those places altogether... but suddenly Arby's is sounding pretty good.