Student VoicesBack to student voices archive July 30, 2012
Unnecessary Drama: When Corporations Enter the Political Fray
With the 2012 election rapidly approaching, the political climate in America is more polarized than ever. Even some businesses have stepped into the fray by giving money to and voicing support for various political causes. However, the decision to take a political stand has cost some corporations customers, and made them the subject of public boycotts.
As a future voter in the 2012 election, Lora, a high school senior from Alexandria, Va., is curious to see what directly and indirectly affects which candidate will become president. Also a fervent consumer, she hopes to identify which stores she frequents that have risked losing consumers to take a stand this election season.
During the 2008 election, Target donated 52 percent of its 322,000 campaign expenditures to Democratic committees, caucuses and political platforms. That same year, Wal-Mart’s political action committee donated 1.4 million dollars to Republican candidates, political committees and causes. I shopped in both stores without knowing whether or not they were politically affiliated, and preferred it that way. In a capitalist society that prides its self on a strong private sector, does a private company’s political affiliation matter?
Making headlines during the 2012 election is whether or not major corporations will support Obama’s endorsement of gay marriage. After declaring itself “pro-gay marriage,” the Starbucks Corporation has become the target of “Dump Starbucks” campaigns by those who maintain the biblical representation of marriage. On OneNewsNow.com, a commenter stated that they “will stop going to Starbucks” and for naysayers to “tolerate [my] intolerance.”
Chick-fil-A—an openly Christian organization that still closes its stores on Sunday—has been boycotted in Chicago and Boston for not supporting same-sex marriage. In return for airing its political opinions, both Starbucks and Chick-fil-A could not only lose their consumers, but their position on every highway and street corner available.
There are consumers who will boycott stores that do not support their lifestyle with the same fervor political activists boycotted Woolworth’s Department Stores in the 1960s for not allowing African-Americans to sit at its lunch counter. And in an economy still recovering from the most recent recession, lost choices and lost revenue can make a difference.
Consumers are also voters. If companies continue to publicize what party platforms they support alongside their next sale, where you shop could become as equally a defining factor as who you vote for in the next election. Capitalism at its best creates a market unrestrained by the federal government. I believe that private companies should not allow themselves to become part of political debates—if only to preserve this distinction.
Lora attends high school at T.C. Williams in Alexandria, Virginia. This year she will be a senior, and the News and Television editor at Theogony, T.C.’s school newspaper. Formerly an Opinions and Editorials contributor, she looks forward to continuing a career in print and broadcast journalism.
Tooltip of related stories
Tooltip of more video block
Submit Your Student Voice
Tooltip of related content
Tooltip of RSS content 3
Rising ocean temperatures threaten world’s coral reefs
Rising ocean temperatures resulting from climate change are killing coral reefs across the planet. Continue readingclimate changecoral bleachingcoral reefsecologymarine biology
Supreme Court confirmation hearing begins for Gorsuch
Confirmation hearings for President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch began this week. Continue readingcivics & governmentNeil GorsuchSocial StudiesU.S. Supreme Court
How one female ice hockey player from the United Arab Emirates is living her dream
The National Hockey League celebrated ‘Hockey is for Everyone’ in February, as a time for promoting inclusiveness and a positive environment for all–including both men and women. Continue readinggenderice hockeyIslamUAEWashington CapitalsWomen's History Month
Federal courts rules Texas gerrymandering unconstitutional
A panel of federal judges in Texas ordered the state to redraw its congressional district map because it discriminates against Hispanic voters. Continue readingCivicsconstitutiongerrymanderhispanicracismSocial StudiesTexasvoter ID lawvoting rights act
Republican health care bill faces opposition from within party
Republican lawmakers introduced their replacement for former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) this week, but face opposition from both Democrats and members of their own party as they push to move the bill through committee and into the U.S. House of Representatives for a vote. Continue readingCongressGovernment & Civicshealth careObamacareSocial StudiesU.S. House of Representatives