When does it end -- or does it?

October 10, 2010 by barbara

barbara writes

My friend Suzanne and I were talking about Target the other day – “Target” being our home-grown retail giant. “Target” being the Dayton Hudson offspring we loved without reservation until we learned it dumped a big chunk of money into an organization that funneled it into Tom Emmer’s political campaign.

That’s the day Suzanne and I stopped shopping Target. We were not alone, and it believe me, it wasn’t a snap decision. For starters, some of us have shopped Target since it opened its first store in Roseville in 1962. So, yes, as I keep reminding you, we are older than primal ooze. But now we’re disappointed in our corporate role-model-gone-missing. Deeply disappointed.

Some say Target’s trickle-down donation means that the company embraces Emmer’s clear opposition to gay rights. Maybe so. Others believe the Target funding illustrates the deplorable Supreme Court decision to allow humongous corporations to make political donations as though they were just plain folks.

Either way, Target came crosswise of a significant number of its previously loyal customers. And this time, we decided to walk the walk, as is said ad nauseum, even when the shoe fits.

Staying out of Target has been harder than staying on a diet. Read some more.

It’s been instructive to note how many times a week it occurs to me that I can just "run to Target" for that thing I really want/need. But for the past couple of months, I have not set foot in a Target store.

In my conversation with Suzanne, we pondered whether there was or should be an end time for a Target boycott. That is to say, are we committed to this for all eternity? What must Target do to atone for its distasteful pretense that it’s an individual rather than a corporation? How can I return to Target, knowing that some portion of the dollars I spend there are being routed to a candidate who is anathema to me (and to countless others)?

What would it take to get me back into a Target store?

Here’s my bottom line. When Tom Emmer loses the governor race, I will consider returning to Target. An Emmer loss is a big loss for Target -- the company that wants a big-business-biased Pawlenty-clone governing this state. But an Emmer loss is a big win for those of us who believe there is no place for run-amok political spending by corporations. Zero sum game.

And yeah, that run-amok corporate spending applies to funding both Republican and Democratic candidates. It’s just wrong.

So I might go back. But if I do, I'll keep close watch on my formerly favorite big box retailer. Fool me once.....well, you know.

Now here’s where you come in.

Get out and vote on November 2. Even if it’s raining! Sleeting! Snowing. Do not forget that a vote for Emmer means that ordinary people like us lose. If you don't care about that, then do it for me. Either way, we need to vote against giving away the store.

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Comments

Dave G. (not verified) | October 11, 2010 - 2:48pm

You just cemented my decision to vote for Horner. I was leaning in that direction anyway. Let's not fault Target for one donation we don't agree with out of thousands they make every year.

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barbara | October 12, 2010 - 11:38am

Sadly, you're missing the point. If we do not fault Target "for the one donation we don't agree with...." we are complicit in what's happening. See the article in today's Strib about citizen boycotts being the last thing we have going for us.

It is true that Target has donated a boatload of money to worthy causes. Seizing the political process is not a worthy cause. It is looking out for number one, writ large. That is the way of the corporate world, but stepping into control of the political process is flat out wrong. And that goes for any other corporate entity that flexes its multi-million dollar muscle to control what used to be, could be, should be American democratic (small d) process at its best.

This donation was meant to go under the radar in this Supreme Court-gifted environment where transparency matters not one whit and mega-bucks corporations are allowed, nay encouraged, to take control of politics.

Vote for Horner if you must, being absolutely clear that he is yet another Pawlenty/Emmer clone, albeit dressed nicely and speaking articulately.

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Gary J. (not verified) | October 12, 2010 - 6:17pm

The money spent to influence elections has gotten totally out-of-hand! The Supreme Court ruling in favor of corporate interests has opened a flood of media buys to influence the voter.

We as individuals have only had blogs and letters-to-the-editor as outlets for our voices. Corporations can now not only advocate for politicians, but also frame the debate to their favor. That will always be pushing what contributes to their bottom line. Will they support regulations that protect the consumer? (Think Oil companies and their fight against "Cap and Trade" - They were happy to take billions in government subsidies, however.)

Can the average, middle class American run for Senate, the House, or Governor? (Meg Whitman spent 140 MILLION so far, on her race to be the next Governor of California.)

We have two things left - our vote and using our pocket book to influence corporate behavior.

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Dave G. (not verified) | October 15, 2010 - 3:04pm

Boycotts like this come and go without creating much more than a ripple before they soon die out.

To agree 100% with the actions and attitudes of just about any entity (or candidate) is somewhere between extremely rare and non-existent.

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