Breaking up is hard to do
Part of me is really heart-broken to be boycotting Target. It almost feels like breaking up with an old friend. The garden center. The sweet finds in the fashion department. And my sense that with the budget Target offers, somehow I also could depend on some level of quality. And at least it's a better alternative (social justice wise) to the notoriously horrible Walmart.
Recently, Target gave over $150,000 to buy ads supporting a far-right Republican candidate for governor in Minnesota. Tom Emmer, the candidate in question, has outspokenly been anti-LGBTQ families, anti-marriage equality, anti-worker and anti-immigrant. Soon after Target apologized for its donation. Also important to note is that historically Target has boasted very LGBTQ friendly employee policies and sponsored LGBTQ events such as Pride festivals.
So when I first heard about the Target boycott, I'll admit, I paused. In the scheme of corporations, was Target really that bad?
Now I see that the incident with Target speaks to the much larger issue of corporate control of our democracy. While I try and support progressive candidates with donations of my time or money from here to there, it will be an eon or two before I have $150,000 to support any candidate. Why is it that big corporations dictate so much of what happens in our elections? Not just in supporting candidates, but even in getting initiatives on the ballot in the first place (ie Valero and Tesoro's job killing, polluting Prop 23 on this November's ballot).
So even if Target is not the worst company in the world, it most definitely still is part of the problems facing our community. And until we demand accountability from the businesses that we support, not to mention shift whose purse strings finance our elections, we aren't seizing the full potential of our people power.