Wednesday, January 26, 2005

That would be letting the terrorists win

The terrorists of the fundamentalist right, that is.

Remember when we were all supposed to spend a lot of money after September 11th to keep the economy vibrant--that beaten but unbowed attitude? I didn't really get on board with that (dire financial straits as broke grad student most probable cause) but I wanted to get on board with the latest money=political activism idea. I refer of course to the (apparently totally unfamous and basically unknown) push to boycott GDub's inauguration by not spending ONE THIN DIME! on January 20th. When I found out about the effort, I figured hey why not? If we all really got together and showed our consumer might... blah blah blah. So I forwarded the plea to a dozen people I thought would jump on the train with me and did my grocery shopping a day early.

How did it work out? Miserably. Since I am a late sleeper and a homebody these days, the morning posed no problem. It's pretty hard to fan out the cash while snoring or padding around pouring ricemilk on breakfast cereal. However, once noon past, simple vanity finally got in the way, and I decided I badly needed a haircut before going away for the weekend. I rationalized this expenditure in retrospect by considering the seventeen dollars I paid for a short and brutal cut at the hands of rough Molly more of a donation than cash exchanged for services. (Isn't snipping my hair in a semi-straight line across my back something I could *almost* do myself, for free?)

Apparently I wasn't the only one whose actual life got in the way of wielding their political might, since nary a peep was heard about this intended fiscal protest come Inauguration Day. This may well be because the "mainstream media has done everything it can to marginalize the breadth, diversity, and vitality of the various resistance movements which came together for the counter-inaugural 2005 protest." If so, great job everyone, bad job media.

But if not, and there really wasn't much effect, what was the point of this effort? Either Bush-haters (including, sadly, myself) are all too firmly wedded to the necessities of a consumer life, or they've decided that withholding their cash on Thursday to spend more on Wednesday and Friday doesn't make sense. And I'm afraid they might be right. Not because we couldn't actually grind the economy to a halt for one day if we really tried, but because I don't think Gdub would really care if we did. If 400,000 screaming folks in New York and lots more 'round the world in the winter of 2003 didn't yield even one second's delay of Operation Plunge into Iraq, would a slight downturn in consumer spending for one day in the winter of 2005 really give him pause?

Am I wrong about this? Did anyone out there manage to "not-spend" successfully? I would like to be proven wrong on this issue, so let me know if your protest made a difference. Does anyone feel that their efforts (economic or otherwise) on Inauguration Day impacted this administration or the country as a whole?

In the meantime, I think it's safe to say we need a better thing to do with our money in the fight against reckless government than simply not spend it.


At 11:57 AM, Blogger joyandpain said...

That Thursday I did not spend even one thin dime ("not one damn dime" I also heard). I can't believe you sent out an email urging others to act (or not act) and then you splurged! I only heard the news from two people. Not spending could have been a loud message if every Bush hater did it. Maybe Democrats are just too laidback.

At 11:29 AM, Blogger scs said...

I know--it's shameful. I myself am clearly one of those too-laidback Democrats.


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