Businesses Take Action Against Trump’s Products in a Boycott
by The Milton Measure on Friday, February 24th, 2017
One of our constitutional rights as Americans is the freedom of speech. The essence of our country is the liberty to argue, dispute, and disagree without the fear of repercussion. And although often complex and tricky, candid communication can bring with it greater success. Fundamentally, freedom of speech and freedom of opinion allow citizens to openly share feelings and beliefs.
The Democratic Coalition Against Trump (DCAT) has created the “Boycott Trump” movement as a pledge to stop buying from companies and businesses associated with Donald Trump. Specifically after brands like Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus dropped Ivanka Trump’s lines, the topic has become more prevalent in the news. According to Kristen Doerer for PBS Newshour, “Those upset with Trump the president, feeling unheard and discontented, are using their wallets to protest by boycotting Trump the brand — and other companies associated with it.”
The DCAT created a “Boycott Trump” pledge on their website to encourage people to stop buying Trump affiliated brands. The DCAT has also since created an app which gives insight into which businesses associate with Donald Trump in general. According to Nathan Lerner, DCAT’s executive director, “People are realizing that they have a vote everyday with their purchasing power, and they can take a stand everyday with how they spend their money.”
This boycott has become another way for people to display their opinions. Instead of vocally, people are taking action by “hitting [Trump] and his allies where it hurts the most – their wallet,” according to the DCAT pledge summary.
However, the real controversy begins when discussing whether or not boycotting companies is fair or reasonable. Because Ivanka herself is not her father, it may seem as though not buying her products is petty or narrow-minded, as she did put work into creating her lines. Yet, every time someone buys a product, they are also buying into how that product was manufactured and into the company as whole.
Ivanka has stood by her father’s side throughout the election to the beginning of his presidency, and her husband has had a prominent role in Trump’s candidacy. Although it is true that Ivanka is not her father, she supports his beliefs and decisions. As a business owner with the president as her father, she has to know that his actions as the president will reflect unto her business. If she really wants to pull away from her father, she must do so more prominently.
In the end, when businesses publicly endorse Donald Trump, they are displaying their own political standings. So if they don’t want consumers to stand by their own political beliefs when choosing where and when to spend their money, the businesses should remain similarly unbiased. If businesses were completely politically indifferent, consumers should have no problem purchasing those products. No one gets to tell people that they cannot NOT spend money in deliberate ways… it’s their money!
Overall, these actions seem hypocritical: if companies use their success to enrich Trump, can they really expect no reaction from their consumers? If unsatisfied with customer consumption (a drop in purchases due to personal beliefs), businesses need to draw a line between what they do and do not disclose — in other words, whether to be politically affiliated. Generally, people dig deep to see what they’re purchasing. Customers like to know what is going on behind the scenes. In an interview conducted by economics correspondent Paul Solman for the PBS Newshour, he discusses how political beliefs are starting to shine through everywhere we turn.
Shannon Coulter (founder of the “Grab Your Wallet” Campaign that started it all) feels, “we may have lost at the ballot box, but we can vote at the cash register every day.” No one should be shamed or called petty for simply having their beliefs made clear through their everyday actions. These people are making mature, thoughtful choices to boycott these companies. If people want to take a stand for how they feel, let them!
It is monumentally important to illustrate and discuss the intense emotions that surround topics like these. The idea of being afraid to take ownership over your beliefs only creates a bigger hole in our ability to communicate honestly. Freedom of speech and opinion has now become freedom to chose where to swipe your card.
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