I can’t get enough of this concept. Perhaps because this mid-term election was so emotionally charged–for both sides. Perhaps because everyone I talk to seems to be so desperate for some kind of change, and then ends up being disappointed when their politicians are either not elected, or do not perform as anticipated. I think we’re putting a lot of stock in a few select individuals to change the world. Regardless of who you voted for, or which policies you’d like to see changed … there has to be more to it than casting a vote in November and then sitting back and watching what happens.
That’s why I believe that as consumers, we get to vote every time we tap our bank accounts. Money talks. Far louder than your election day votes. It’s exactly why so many of our politicians are so easily bought by big business or lobbyists with deep pockets … even after they solemnly vowed to keep the American people’s best interests at heart. I’m not trying to be cynical. I’m just being honest. It’s a broken system.
But this should not be cause for despair. If our elected officials are not changing the economy fast enough or implementing the policies we’d like to see changing our communities then it is time we took matters into our own hands.
I used to tell my college roommates (who skipped class *all* the time–you know who you are) that they did not have the right to complain about their grades if they never went to class. But, if they did go to class and made an effort and actually try to pass the class, but still struggled, then they had a case to make with the professor. I would say the same is true of our role as citizens in this country. If we are out there in our communities–volunteering and supporting and helping, but are not seeing change happening, then we have a right to complain. But if we’re just sitting back here waiting for something profound to change … then we should probably keep our mouthes shut, no?
This is where my wallet voting theory comes in. I don’t know what your causes are, or which policies you would like to see changed, but it doesn’t really matter … if you’d like to see a change in the agriculture and farming industry, then start shopping at your local farmer’s market. If you would like to see a change in education, but instead see state education budgets being cut, then donate your time and resources to one of your local school’s programs. If you would like to see change in community health services, make a donation to their cause. My cause, as the moment, is supporting services for children with Autism. It’s a cause that is near and dear to my heart, but with the way state budgets are being cut in response to the economy, many of the funds for early learning are being cut as well. So, my financial contributions this year will go to support that cause.
And, here’s the added bonus of voting with your wallet … your charitable contributions are tax deductible! Look. I don’t mind paying taxes. I like to drive on nice roads and have educated children. I’m grateful for the services that my tax dollars enable. But if the politicians in my state are not going to support the services that I believe in, then I’m going to support them myself. Because I can.
That is how I will exercise my right to vote.