A lot of people think it's extreme to compare the Donald to Hitler, but I don't. All the warning signs are in place -- the undermining of public media, the spread of false information to create chaos and mistrust, the chronyism in Washington. The biggest threat to our democracy, though is all the money that's backing selfish agendas that no longer serve the common citizen.
All my hopes for getting money out of politics were dashed when #45 was elected. The 1% used their assets to shout louder than the voices of the majority, and enough people believed their spiel to give them a stronghold in national politics. After they got their Trump-pet into office, the rest has been a cake walk. In this age of information, whoever can make the loudest case wins, no matter the merits or dangers of that case.
I attended a fundraiser years ago, where I was first introduced to the concept of voting with our dollars. The speaker asked us to take out our check books and our calendars. We looked at them, and were reminded that the things we're spending our money and our time on are the things we want, the things we support in this society. These are our votes. Capitalism will always adapt to where the dollars are going.
Do you buy Nestle products, even though they're trying to privatize natural resources and they care more about profit than whether child slaves are used to produce their chocolate ingredients? Do you shop at Walmart even though their profits are based on paying low enough wages that employees rely on public assistance, and the cost to taxpayers is more than double what Walmart earns in profits? Do you drive when you could walk or bike? Do you choose gas over electricity because it's cheaper? Do you think about the impact your time and money choices are making on the world? These are important things to consider.
It's a struggle for those of us with minimal discretionary income to make our votes heard, but we can do it. We can recommend the businesses that, besides being effective and useful, are owned and managed by minorities, that give back to the community, that participate in earth-friendly practices, that support education or healthcare or any number of causes that make our lives better. We can organize, so that our voices are amplified. Those messy protests that may be inconvenient and may seem ineffective are an important part of the democratic process. They help stave off the fascism of a money-centered government. Each angry, frustrated citizen hardly causes a ripple, but together, we can be a tsunami.
Those of us without the money to buy media attention and bribe politicians have to vote with what we've got -- our time, our voices, our determination. The 1% would love to have complete control over our government. Fascism serves them. Our only defense against continuing down that road is to get really loud, really committed, really organized, and hyper-aware of what our dollars and hours are voting for.
Susie Snortum is passionate about improving society's compassion for meeting basic human needs -- food, shelter, clean water, and dignity.