Readers Write: Not One Damn Dime Day

Do you have an opinion about something you've read on AlterNet? Write a letter to the editor. Please include your full name. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.

Editor's Note: These letters are all in response to the story "Damn the Dimes" by judy b.

Tod Brilliant, co-organizer, Not One Damn Dime Day, responds:

The economic impact of this SYMBOLIC protest will pale in comparison to the cost of the unjust war – every last person, including small business owners, will be paying off the debt of this war, in taxes both direct and indirect FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES!! The sooner we stop the war, the sooner we stop the economic hemorrhaging. Further, to criticize the protest on economic terms is to lose sight of the real issue: Human Suffering. We're asking that U.S. and Iraqi children be saved from daily massacre. If others want to attach a price tag to this suffering, I find that more than horrible ... more than dehumanizing ... more than sad.

U.S. citizens need to start acting like citizens. Voting for a pro-war party (Dem/Repub) on election day is only one small action. They now have four years to fix their mistake, by participating, daily, as citizens – not as consumers, nor as shoppers, or workers, or homeowners, viewers or any of the myriad labels that the government applies to help make all of us forget that we are citizens first. Every day we must reclaim our citizenship, bit by bit.

A Dime, A Dozen
judy b.'s comments have convinced me to take all the damn dimes I would have spent on myself Thursday and give them to charity.
Len Carrier

Soft Money
It is precisely the smug, self-important, self-proclaimed leftists such as Judy B. who convince me that the [r]ight has infiltrated the [l]eft and is – with the help of the DNC – trying to soften us to death.

Intelligent people know that Not One Damn Dime Day will not have a significant impact on the mega-corporations; likewise, it won't put the local, family-owned, community-oriented businesses with which Judy would align herself out of business either.

It is a symbolic gesture; it is meant to psychically impinge upon the comfort of CEOs; it says We Know Who You Are and that You Are Profiting from the Misery of Ordinary Americans – it's the kind of gesture that must be followed up by ever-increasing, organized activity by those of us still seething from Nov. 2. I'm truly despondent to realize that Judy B. is so cynical as to assume that the national movements have that short an attention span.

Judy B. will have to put her dimes where her supposedly leftist values are before she's anything to us, the angry but self-righteous and condescending.
Frances G.

A Dime for Your Thoughts
Thank you to Judy B for her comment on not one damn dime day – she has a lot of good points, although I think the idea of a general boycott was pretty harshly criticized. Perhaps the most disappointing thing about this boycott suggestion was that it seemed too casually put forward; I think she did a good job of responding to that. The whole idea of being able to choose to spend or not is definitely a pretty middle class luxury. An example I think of is that the desire not to support sweat shops is really important to me and others I know but most of our shopping i[s] from thrift stores where that's not an option. Maybe the fact that we didn't make the original purchase helps some. Another example is the difficulty of getting to coops and other local businesses when you have no transportation (either a car or a close busline) and the Safeway is within walking distance. Anyway, we all have a long way to go and her challenge to the internet reading public is very much appreciated. I hope others respond.
Ann Huntwork

If I Had a Dime ...
judy b. says: "My neighborhood is called The Fillmore, home to the Fillmore Auditorium and once a center of the West Coast jazz scene. Today it is a community ever struggling to recover the ground it lost when the city pushed black-owned businesses and African-American and Asian-American (mostly Japanese) homeowners out so white people could move in."

How old are you, judy b.? In the "good old days," the Fillmore was such a run-down, dangerous place that nobody – black, white, green, purple – went out after 8 p.m. because of well-grounded fear of violence. Romanticizing that kind of past, making it sound as if the Fillmore was somehow hijacked, doesn't make you believable. It makes you irrelevant.
Kate Fuller

Please tell Judy that this movement is not so much aimed at local merchandisers as it is at the big boys ... a boycott of the big box. While we plan not to spend money [Thursday], we will buy what we anticipate needing for [Thursday] today from local merchants. We shun big box stores as much as possible as a matter of principle.

To plead for small retailers who could afford to tighten their belts for one day is noble but misguided. It will not break them. I know – I work in such a place. To try and send a message to the fat cats in [D.C.], well it is worth the small sacrifice.

While I am not a social conservative, I am no bleeding heart either. Perhaps we should all buck up and get ready for the hard fight.
Robert Buckingham

Thanks a lot, Judy B., for trying to deflate a potentially significant action.

In being so short-sighted, so quick to react negatively, you missed the infinite number of alternatives to punishing local businesses by spending Not One Damn Dime tomorrow.

Your inability to think creatively, to only see in black and white is just the kind of thinking that got W into office in the first place.

My friends and I all vowed to spend our dimes and dollars locally as often as possible anyway. However, to be sure that these businesses aren't punished tomorrow, we are doing some extra shopping today and Friday, AND planned local lunch dates AND a Moms' Night Out on Friday night at a local restaurant.

We're making a point of telling these shopkeepers and business owners what we're doing and why, and guess what? They get it. Most of them are more than OK with it, because they are hearing that they are appreciated and valued, and are able to plan ahead for a slow day.

Was that so hard?
Roma Halatyn, NY

Judy B. responds:
Self-critique is not easy, but we on the left must learn to defend our beliefs without being defensive. If we are to have any hope of convincing middle-ground voters to swing their votes our way the next election cycle – and we must convince some of them – we have to understand why they oppose us now, and we must give their skepticism fair consideration. I suggested in this piece how the NODDD boycott would heighten anti-liberal attitudes, and I suggested a more pointed way to rebut the Bush administration.

Those who disagree with my assertions simply say I'm wrong to oppose the boycott, as if questioning the beliefs, motives and actions of my political allies is un-liberal. That sounds terribly conservative to me.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.