Money is power. Each of us has it to varying degrees. Our challenge is to use our spending to advance worthy goals. Right now we see economic power being used against the state of Arizona because of the awful legislation recently passed that makes it all too easy for police there to seek proof of citizenship from virtually anyone they choose. Many groups and government entities have already cancelled conferences and other activities in Arizona, sending state and business leaders into a frizzy. They deserve to suffer as do the vast majority of Arizona citizens that supported the legislation. Every American that professes love and respect for the Constitution should avoid spending their tourism and other kinds of spending in Arizona.
Economic boycotts can be very powerful and change the world for the better. Sadly, too few Americans use their personal spending power to advance worthy goals. An immediate opportunity is for people to stop buying BP gasoline. After all, it is clear that BP acted irresponsibly and likely criminally in using offshore oil drilling technology that posed enormous risks to public and worker safety as well as our natural environment in the Gulf of Mexico and possibly far beyond.
Make BP suffer where it hurts, where it can truly harm them. Send a clear signal that we will get revenge as consumers with an environmental conscience. An immediate boycott of BP could do much to make the company compensate the incredible number of people that will suffer very much because of the humongous oil spill that should have been prevented. We cannot depend on BP acting responsibly; nor can we count on the government or the courts for delivering timely justice.
So simple. While you may not have opportunities to stop spending in Arizona you are more likely to stop spending at BP outlets. If you can influence decisions by others to stop spending in these two ways, then do it with strength and passion.
There is a Boycott BP page on Facebook. Show your support. Over at the Public Citizen website you can sign a petition: "Take the Beyond BP Pledge! Drive a car? Like the occasional fountain drink? Send a clear message to BP by boycotting its gas and retail store products. Don't spend a cent of your hard-earned money to feed the bottom line of a corporation that has a sordid history of negligence, willfully violates environmental regulations, and is spewing thousands and thousands of barrels of oil a day into the Gulf of Mexico. I pledge to boycott BP for at least three months." Public Citizen has also created a Facebook group "1,000,000 Strong to Boycott BP."
"Boycott BP into bankruptcy" said Cindy Sheehan. Amen.
A short while back John Antczak on Huffington Post complained that there is "no apparent sign of a consumer backlash at the pump like the boycott triggered by the Exxon Valdez spill 21 years ago." He also noted that "owners interviewed by The Associated Press across the country say it's been business as usual since the April 20 explosion on a rig off Louisiana began unleashing 200,000 gallons of crude a day." However, this too must be noted: It took 40 days for outrage to coalesce into a one-day national boycott of Exxon stations.
Note that in the West, BP sells gas under the long-established Arco brand.
According to BP's website, there are more than 10,000 BP-branded gas stations in the U.S. and 1,500 under the Arco name. BP says it sells more than 15 billion gallons of gasoline in the U.S. every year, second only to Shell.
Americans seem to find far too easy to justify buying at BP or Arco because of convenience or low price. But everyone should see this choice as a moral one. If you continue to pump money into the BP coffers you are acting immorally, stupidly and anti-environmentally. Either you have a conscience or not. Make the marketplace work to punish those that deserve to be punished.