Over the past few days, I’ve heard about Stevie Wonder’s boycott of Florida.
To be clear, he’s not simply boycotting Florida, but EVERY state with Stand Your Ground laws.
First of all, at this point in time, I cannot verify Mr. Springsteen said this.
But the meme, true or not, made me think long and hard about the massive push to boycott Florida.
A marvelous quote from another blogger I highly respect comes to mind:
If you make fun of “Texas” (or “Ohio” or “Florida” or “North Carolina” or “Indiana,” etc.), you are by definition including the progressive activists who live there.
These places are our homes. We are working in demoralizing conditions and constant defeat to try to fix them.
Yes. A million times YES. Wherever you are in the States or in the world, think about your government: does it always do what you think it should? Is it perfect?
(If so, do tell.)
But back to the Florida-boycott issue.
I understand the outrage, the disgust, the terror. I am not claiming I understand what it’s like to be black in America and in Florida; I fully recognize my white privilege here. (Read that link, if nothing else. Please.)
Wonder’s boycott calls attention to a set of laws that may be hard to undo.
However, to me, the idea of others also participating in a boycott seems too microcosmic, too narrowly focused.
(I can’t fault a person of color for not wanting to set foot in one to the states with Stand Your Ground Laws.)
Stand Your Ground (SYG) is a product of ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council.
Let’s repeat that: Stand Your Ground is the product of ALEC.
Their name sounds pretty innocent, no? Legislative Exchange…that sounds progressive-ish. Or at least semi-positive.
And just read these quotes from the ALEC website:
With more than 2,000 members, ALEC is the nation’s largest, non-partisan, individual public-private membership association of state legislators.
ALEC can claim it’s non-partisan because it’s 501(c)(3). Sneaky, eh?
All across the nation, states are looking for ways to boost their economies and become more economically competitive. Each state confronts this task with a set of policy decisions unique to their own situation. However, not all state policies lead to economic prosperity and while some states achieve economic prosperity, others continue to struggle in their efforts to revive their economies.
Fortunately, the United States, with its “50 laboratories of democracy,” provides us with empirical evidence to track exactly which policies lead to economic prosperity and which fail to deliver.
Doesn’t this just warm your heart and make you want to decorate the town with American flags waving?
The American Legislative Exchange Council works to advance the fundamental principles of free-market enterprise, limited government, and federalism at the state level through a nonpartisan public-private partnership of America’s state legislators, members of the private sector and the general public.
This quote is a tad more telling of what’s really going on at their closed-door meetings.
“Advance the the fundamental principles of free market enterprise?” (emphasis mine; paging Ayn Rand.)
“. . . partnership of America’s state legislators, members of the private sector and the general public.”
Any alarm bells yet? You should be shaking in fear right now. And angry as all get-out.
ALEC is writing your states legislation, and they’re doing it with a very heavy hand toward against progressives, women, people of color–okay, most minorities–and in the interests of Big Business. ALEC is anti-worker’s rights.
Of course, that’s just in the name of the “free market.”
ALEC is nefarious and evil in my progressive book.
SYG is a symptom of the disease, not the disease.
ALEC, and relatives of ALEC, are the disease.
At this point, it should be little surprise that the biggest donors and supports of ALEC are the Koch Brothers.
The best way to protest? Don’t boycott a state. Boycott the people and companies behind ALEC.
If you have a smartphone, there’s a wonderful (free) app called Buycott.
1. Download Buycott to your smartphone. (Google Play Store & Apple Store have it.)
2. Create a login.
3. Click on the Campaigns tab.
4. Scroll down to All Categories.
5. Pick Civil Rights.
6. Pick Boycott ALEC Corporations. (It should have my name way down in the campaign description.)