“Voters’ voices are loud, but for corporate America, consumers’ voices are louder. So, folks, let’s let them hear our voice.”
The speaker is Glenn Kirschner, a former federal prosecutor and cofounder of a new effort called “The Democracy Pledge.” He’s describing this campaign on a podcast.
It’s a nonpartisan attempt to align business and voters to ensure that our democracy endures.
The idea sprang from some businesses’ statements after the January 6 insurrection that they would no longer donate money to any elected official who took part in the insurrection or refused to accept the legitimate transfer of power that until this year has been the cornerstone of our democracy.
The Democracy Pledge is intended to encourage a voluntary commitment from businesses and corporations to donate their dollars only to elected officials who have demonstrated their allegiance to our democracy.
It’s also true that recent surveys have shown that business has become the most trusted institution in the US, surpassing non-governmental organizations, government, and the media.
Why wouldn’t they parlay that trust into ensuring the stability of our country? It seems as though the informed leaders of commerce and industry shouldn’t even have to be prodded to support a stable political structure that’s characterized by truth and the revered peaceful change of governance.
But these are not normal times, and I think Kirschner and colleagues may be on to something—as our politics are being distorted by the continuance of blatant falsehoods about the 2020 Presidential election.
So let’s look at what this Democracy Pledge is all about. You can find it at www.thedpledge.com. On Twitter it’s @thedpledge, and on Facebook it’s also @thedpledge.
“The Democracy Pledge is a simple commitment that corporations, companies and businesses can make to support democracy by affirming the legitimacy of the 2020 Presidential election.
It’s a promise not to aid those who seek to tear down democracy for political gain.”
It’s also an all-volunteer effort, free of any type of fund-raising. As Kirschner says on his podcast:
“This is not a money-making endeavor. This is a democracy-making endeavor.”
From the website:
“HOW DO COMPANIES MAKE THE DEMOCRACY PLEDGE?
To take The Democracy Pledge, all a company needs to do is agree to the following:
1.We are proud to join the growing list of corporations taking The Democracy Pledge.
2.We affirm that the election of Joseph R. Biden and Kamala Harris was free, fair and legitimate.
3.We believe in valuing, affirming and supporting democracy, and are committed to doing so.
4.We will not support, donate to or endorse politicians, political campaigns or political action committees that promoted false conspiracy theories surrounding the 2020 presidential elections (or otherwise acted in ways contrary to a representative democracy).
Please note: The Democracy Pledge is not a Citizen’s Pledge. It is for companies and corporations only.
“WHAT’S THE POINT?
Responsible civic ethics are increasingly important to brand identity. It’s critical for businesses to support and promote the civic values that are important to their customers….
“Here at The Democracy Pledge, we believe that civically responsible American companies will want to be on the pro-democracy side of this issue by affirming a commitment to protect, promote and preserve our democratic norms that are increasingly under attack.”
And here’s where we, the consumers, come in.
“The Democracy Pledge will maintain a publicly accessible list of all companies that have made the pledge. We will also maintain a list of companies where a corporate representative affirmatively declined to sign the pledge.
“Consumers and investors will be able to consult this list to ensure that they give their business only to companies that have committed to the value of American democracy.”
If you choose to support this effort, you simply go to the site and add your name and email at the bottom. Clearly, the more Americans who sign in support, the greater the potential to encourage corporations to sign the pledge.
And if you own a business—or know someone who does and are willing to encourage them to sign on—you are directly contributing to the success of this effort.
“By adding your name to the list, not only can we keep you informed about which companies have taken the pledge but we can count you among those interested in making informed consumer decisions.
“The more people who express an interest in supporting only democracy-compliant businesses, the more power we collectively have to protect our democracy.
I see some urgency in helping to expand this effort now.
As we know, Republican legislators throughout the country are introducing and passing hundreds of bills to suppress the vote.
They’re basing the “need” for these disenfranchising moves on The Big Lie—Trump’s claim that the election was stolen from him through allegedly fraudulent means.
That was the claim that led to the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol and continues to animate armed militias throughout the country.
A number of the insurrectionists stated that they felt they were heeding their president’s call to overturn an illegal election and defend their country.
It bears repeating that Trump’s claims were struck down in every court in the nation.
Nevertheless, these new and proposed state laws purport to be necessary in order to protect the vote from the nonexistent fraud. And they continue to fuel the beliefs of the conspiracy thinkers who still want to “Stop the Steal.”
We are, as one of the books I read to my children decades ago was titled: “In Upsy Downsy Land.”
And, not surprisingly, the restrictions especially target Black voters so severely that they’ve been called the worst attack since Jim Crow.
We also know that our democracy was saved by certain election officials in critical states, many of them Republican, who refused to cave into Trump’s bullying.
But even as the former president is being investigated in Georgia for trying to pressure Brad Raffensperger and other officials who held their ground and repeatedly attested to the validity of the election results, he has recruited an ally to challenge Raffensperger in the 2022 primary election.
It’s not a stretch to assume that Trump’s plan, abetted by Republicans who remain in his thrall, is to remove any obstacles to his as-yet unknown future run—or that of someone who has his backing. And a similar scenario would occur in the House and Senate and state legislatures as well.
With the fate of the voting rights legislation now before the Senate depending on either non-existent Republican support or unlikely abolition of the filibuster in the near future, it is up to us to secure our democracy.
And we have powerful weapons: our wallets.
Perhaps we can make a difference if we follow the growth of The Democracy Pledge and direct our purchases and support to those businesses and corporations that sign on.
We can also let others in business know that we’re looking for them to join—or will take our business elsewhere if they refuse.
What do you think about this idea? Are you interested? Any objections?