#OptOutside: A Stance Against Black Friday


In an astounding display of forward thinking and demonstrated progressiveness, REI has started the #OptOutside campaign. At first, I couldn’t believe what I was reading. A company not participating in Black Friday?? It sounded too good to be true. Certainly, at it’s core, as the article points out, REI is a business concerned with making profit. Even at that expense of the message, however, I still support them. After all, their business is encouraging folks to get outdoors and enjoy life. That is a business motto I can get behind.

Furthermore, it is highly unfair to the millions of retail workers that have to sacrifice their time so you can benefit from discounts. It is remarkable that REI not only is letting their workers stay home, but that they are paying their employees to stay home. You can call it revolutionary, I’ll call it the expected norm we all deserve as part of a decent living.

Read it and weep commercialization: one of the outdoor-recreation giants has had enough. These holidays are meant to spend time with family, not to buy until your wallets bleed. I wholly support REI in their campaign and I hope the message resonates. Spread the word: #OptOutside.


A Debate Worth Having

A Debate Worth Having

After watching only part of the Democratic debate, I’m hopeful Bernie will blow Clinton out of the water. Not only was he the sole politician on that stage to deliver legitimate answers, he was the only one who did not refer to African Americans as “colored” people. In an incredible show of integrity and responsibility, he even demanded the moderator move away from Clinton’s email scam and focus on the issues (something for which he could have easily attacked her). Finally, he was remarkably respectful to Clinton, despite her obvious jabs towards him, especially on gun rights. I can’t make it clear enough, Bernie clearly knows how to compromise in a country where “no guns” and “more guns” puts in us in unending circles (he may be the senator of a gun toting state, but he gets a D- from the NRA, a sign they are not in his pockets like other political gun activists).

Furthermore, I would like to point out Clinton’s ineptitude. She failed often to directly answer questions and often turned the tables on Republicans, which frankly has nothing to do with a Democratic party debate. She also was very vague with her answers and, when a colleague would respond to her, she would immediately jump and say “I didn’t say that!” The attack on Republicans and other Democratic candidates was not presidential and highly inappropriate: it is the desperate act of one caught in a downward spiral. Finally, keep in mind Clinton is part of an oligarchy. Wall Street is happily in her pants doing a party while Bernie is outwardly against Wall Street. Clinton’s stance on Glass-Steagall is to protect her own pockets. She also laid hard into key words involving families and women, but failed often to detail what she would do concerning those groups. Her answers were clearly rehearsed and unemotional. I would hope most of our country could see through her facade.

I would like to note, however, that while the above makes me sound like I’m feeling the Bern as if he was a preacher, I actually have points at which I disagree with Sanders. One, while I believe his demand to ignore Clinton’s email was the best move he could make on stage, I find it disheartening that our country is so under-educated concerning technology that we see it as slander rather than an important issue. Clinton using a personal, unprotected server for emails of the Secretary of State is a HUGE deal. Did we not go through the NSA fiasco to end up back where we started in terms of security? Technology is not magic, anyone could have (and probably did) find their way into her emails. The fact that we, as a country, don’t take this issue lightly (and no it’s not a scandal, it is a real problem) is embarrassing.

Also, as my previous post probably suggests, I am not a supporter of guns. With that said, Bernie made a highly intuitive point during the debate concerning guns: common sense, common ground and differences in rural and urban communities. In Minnesota, I’ve experienced that. While we don’t have one extreme (for instance rural as in Montana and urban as in New York city) or the other, I have noted in conversations concerning gun ownership to greatly differ depending on the community. That is not to say there aren’t exceptions. I know at least a handful who support (and have) gun ownership in an urban area. However, you are MORE likely to encounter such pro-gun arguments in a rural area. Vermont, compared to Maryland, is HIGHLY rural. The fact that Bernie recognizes common ground is important. He did not even suggest what his personal views on the matter were, but merely that it is important to make compromises for those who have demonstrated responsibility and, rather than penalize them, ensure that guns don’t end up in the wrong hands. I fully support his stance, even if I don’t agree with gun ownership. Such an extreme turn takes baby steps, and Bernie has proven in his legislation that he is willing to take those measures.

I would be interested to hear others’ thoughts on the debate and what they took away from it. Pros/cons of candidates? Issues?

*Note: I focus merely on Clinton and Bernie as they are the front-runners. I would note, however, that it was interesting how Chaffe seemed to often gently back-up Bernie’s points*

[Democratic Debate: Part 1]