Time for no change

DimeAvoid the malls, shun movie theaters, and don’t dare venture into a fast-food joint. When George Bush is sworn in for a second term on Jan. 20, do anything you want but spend money.

That’s the message that popped up in our e-mail box one recent morning. Dubbed “Not One Damn Dime Day,” the grassroots effort calls for a 24-hour national boycott of consumer spending. “Do what you can to shut the retail economy down,” the message says. “Boycott Wal-Mart, Kmart, Target. You open your mouth by keeping your wallet closed.” 

While the goal may be a worthy one, this plan faces two formidable obstacles—Americans’ apathy combined with Americans’ unquenchable thirst for stuff. First off, half the country supports Bush. And asking Americans to stop spending is like asking them to stop eating. And you’ve seen the waistlines out there. We think the next consumer purchase is going to make us feel better, even if it doesn’t. The more stuff we have, the higher our social status. Bigger is better. My Ford Excursion will crush your French Citroen any day. Size matters.

Even if a respectable number of people choose not to spend a dime, will anyone in the government notice? They’ll be too busy listening to “Hail to the Chief.” If these folks really wanted to generate some publicity, they should bring in the Rev. Al Sharpton. That’s what Boston Legal does, and it seems to work for them.

—Posted by Wendy Melillo