Friday, November 18, 2016

The Resistance Will Not Be Televised

The #GrabMyWallet boycott against Ivanka Trump's
fashion product line is gaining traction in the U.S. 
Donald Trump's efforts to populate his top cabinet positions with men who mirror his own narrow-minded views on bigotry, xenophobia and extreme religious intolerance are genuinely frightening.

But social media is offering a variety of innovative ways for the millions of Americans who might not be able to join marches or protests against the Trump to express their opposition for what he stands for.

The backlash to Chili's Grill & Bar in the wake of manager Wesley Patrick's treatment of African-American veteran Ernest Walker last Friday is an example of the growing grassroots movement to show solidarity against Trump's horrifying vision for America by financially boycotting the Trump brand, and speaking in the one language he does seem to grasp - money.

It's been interesting to see how technology, social media and grassroots activism can directly (and quickly) influence the behavior, choices and profitability of large and small companies - and impact the larger American landscape.

For example the stock price of Chili's parent company Brinker International is down 1.04% over the past five days, so I think it's interesting to observe investor's response to the negative global publicity generated by Wesley Patrick's personal bias and poor management skills.  

Logic would suggest that if customers do begin boycotting Chili's as a direct consequence of the incident in Cedar Hills, Texas, the impact on the company's profit margin will be very real - which in turn could effect the decision of some investors to sell the stock to cut their losses.

Or, some investors motivated by displeasure over Ernest Walker's treatment may simply decide to sell the stock on principle.

Remember when news emerged last year that Exxon-Mobil's own internal research showed that the burning of fossil fuels was a major contributor to global warming, and that the company had known this for decades even as it contributed to bogus "research" that backed climate change denial?

I was one of many people and large institutional investors (like the Rockefeller Family Fund) around the globe who decided to sell my Exxon-Mobil stock.  

In many ways the movement to divest from fossil fuel production is an extension of the global anti-apartheid movement to encourage nations to divest from the nation of South Africa over it's government-mandated policy of racial segregation in the 70's and 80's.

That same kind of widespread grassroots energy is not only coalescing around the growing anti-Trump movement taking shape in this country, the accessibility of technology combined with the power of social media platforms are now targeting the companies that either do business with Trump, support him, or are associated with his family.

As an article by Sam Reed in the style section of The Hollywood Reporter noted back on October 24th, influential digital brand strategist Shannon Coulter's #GrabYourWallet social media movement to encourage consumers to contact large retailers and demand they stop carrying Trump products is gaining steam - her list below makes it easy for consumers to take action:

Fed up? Call these retailers and tell them to stop peddling Trump products!

Lists like this one created by Coulter translate a message that retailers and investors understand; one that people from all walks of life are speaking with their purchasing decisions, computers and cell phones.

One that can have a concrete impact as the critical holiday spending season nears.

Other online grassroots movements like The Donald J. Trump Resistance have cropped up to give people information on the CEO's or owners of large retailers who have supported Trump, so that consumers who don't want their hard-earned dollars lining the pockets of people who are giving tacit endorsement to the kinds of anti-American policies Trump envisions.

Republican State Senator Doug Ericksen
You heard about Republican Washington State Senator Doug Ericksen proposing a bill that will alter existing law to categorize what he calls "illegal protests" as "economic terrorism" and make it a felony?

A felony, like assault or murder.

Can you imagine an America where the right to freedom of expression protected by the First Amendment becomes a felony?

Trump supporters can, is that what they meant by "Making America Great Again?"

As I write these words, the newly-created Facebook page of the Resistance to Donald J Trump already has 27,808 likes and growing and Twitter is rapidly becoming a hub for information and news on the huge number of organizations and individuals who are actively opposing Trump and his policies.

With the evidence now indicating that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by a margin that exceeds the number of votes John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon won by, it's clear that the American people did not give Trump an open mandate roll back gains in civil rights, strip away women's right to make their own reproductive and healthcare choices, end Medicare, or put the names of law-abiding Muslim citizens into some kind of database registry.

This isn't Nazi-era Germany, and the grassroots campaign to make Trump and the politicians and corporate interests that are associated with him understand that is only getting started.

The mainstream television news outlets that gave Trump so much free press and live coverage of his rallies and speeches during the election might not devote as much coverage to the growing opposition to the president-elect, but it's happening.

The resistance is real.

Who'd have imagined that we'd need one in 21st century America?

No comments: