Last week saw the governors of two states back-peddling furiously regarding laws that would have allowed members of the LGBT community to be discriminated against.
What caused these two politicians to shift into reverse so quickly?
It wasn’t letters from voters. It wasn’t marches or demonstrations. It wasn’t an election or a referendum.
No, what turned things around was threats of boycotts and pressure from large corporations.
A march of 3,000 people opposed to the law had little effect, but when Angie’s List said it was considering not doing business in Indiana, Gov. Pence couldn’t help but pay attention.
When Walmart’s CEO, Doug MacMillon, made a single tweet opposing the legislation, Arkansas’ governor, Asa Hutchinson, sat up and listened.
It’s easy to think that we, the people, are powerless against mega-corporations that spend millions of lobbying dollars to shape our government to fit their corporate needs.
We should, no doubt, reverse laws that give corporations the right to influence our government, but until then, might we not be able to influence those corporations to use their power in a positive way?
How do we influence corporations when they answer only to their shareholders?
We influence them with every dollar we spend. If we threaten them with boycotts or other actions that affect their bottom line, they will listen.
They will pay no heed to a single person, of course. But in this day of social media and viral video, each of us has the potential to become a crowd.
Corporations do care. Take helpful Honda as an example. The ads are not about cars. Honda understands that having people like the Honda brand is more important than having people like Honda cars.
So continue to march. But remember that you are marching not to influence the politicians but, instead, to win the hearts and minds of we, the people.
Yes, continue to write your senator, but make sure you cc the CEO of X Inc. Let them both know that you and your crowd will be holding them accountable — the senator when you cast your ballot, the CEO when you swipe your credit card.
Dan Pietsch, Idyllwild