Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Chocolate and Cows

Around the corner from our house is a delicious and locally owned yogurt store. We used to frequent it at least once a week. The flavors were unique, they always had a vegan option, and we felt like we were supporting our neighborhood.

A couple of months ago, I stopped in at the local butcher to pick up dinner. The butcher is a couple of doors down from the yogurt shop. In the parking lot, in front of the yogurt shop, was a Nestle truck. It was unloading cases of yogurt mix.

I nearly cried.

The first thing I said when I walked back in the house was, "Well, we can't eat at Skinny Dip anymore."

Protests arose. The biggest was from Mallory, who raised the valid point of, "It's just yogurt. It's not like Nestle is really hurt from you not buying yogurt."

It's true. Nestle could care less if I buy their products. If they did care, they would have changed their ways decades ago since the Nestle boycott has been going on since the 70's. Nestle isn't hurting because of the boycott.

Which begs the question, why boycott then?

For me, it's simple. It's my money until I give it to someone else in exchange for goods, services, or the emotional satisfaction of charity. Once I have given someone else control of my money, I don't have any right to say what they should or should not do with it. I have chosen to let them have it, and it is theirs to use however they see fit.

That means, if I believe really strongly in something, like I do breastfeeding and the care of mothers and infants, then I won't give my money to a corporation who makes decisions that are detrimental to that cause. Actions that are repeated with the known outcome of death to babies and the cause of untold cases of failure to thrive and untold cases of undermined breastfeeding attempts - these are actions that I choose not to fund through purchasing products from Nestle.

It's true. The fact that I never buy another Nestle or Nestle family product doesn't matter to their bottom line. It will never change their actions. I know this.

It's about my conscience. It's about me making an active choice not to support such a corporation who does business around the globe without out any concern about the well being of the people. I choose not to support them, and I sleep better at night because of it.

It's also true that I have supported corporations who don't hold the same values that I do. I use UPS, and they have donated money to political candidates who make my skin crawl and my teeth itch. Their choice. I don't see that value difference as actively hurting other people.

And so we come to the chicken sandwich. The chicken sandwich my children love to eat. The chicken sandwich I love to eat. That perfect pickle and adorable cow.

There was a time that I simply disagreed with Chick-fil-a. I knew their position on marriage and their idea of a traditional family. I didn't agree, but I still purchased their tasty chicken and chugged their unlimited Diet Coke refills.

Things are different now, though. Bringing to light exactly where their money is being placed and the fact that the organizations receiving money that I willingly gave to Chick-fil-a are actively hurting people has changed my mind. It took all week, and watching streams of people thumbing their nose to the pain caused by the organizations funded by millions of Chick-fil-a dollars today, but I'm there. I'm to the point where I choose not to give them anymore of my money.

Besides, there are far better things we should be eating in the world besides chicken sandwiches and waffle fries. And when my children ask why we can't go to Chick-fil-a? It will give me the chance to actively show them how to stand up for what you believe and say it's not okay to discriminate against and hurt people.

It's not okay.