We are a nation of consumers. We buy stuff - to eat, to drink, to wear, to drive, to read, to live in, and to listen to. I do not think that, as a nation, we have historically given much thought to anything other than our immediate needs and desires when purchasing. We buy what we like, without hesitation or consideration of anything else. Until now, that is. Until this election.
For the first time I can remember, people are pausing to consider the ripple effects of their purchases. Where is my money going? What candidates and positions do the company and its owners support? And can I make an impact by purchasing or not purchasing products from certain people or companies?
I remember first giving this serious thought when David Letterman was getting flack from sponsors like Olive Garden about what he said politically on his late night talk show. That was the first time I consciously decided I was not going to patronize those companies, because I sided not only with Letterman's politics, but with his right to freely express them on his own show. It was a small gesture, but it was indicative of what was to come on both much larger and much smaller scales.
As with everything else to do with Election 2016, the levels of divisiveness, vitriol, and just plain nastiness have reached heretofore unprecedented heights and new realms of crazy.
It seems the spin on the election outcome as some sort of mandate has emboldened those looking for a reason to hate and inflict pain on others, even in business.
There are the extreme examples, like the man wielding an automatic weapon as he entered the pizza place in D.C. a few days ago in order to "self investigate" what had been a "fake news" story.
Real or imagined, extreme or slightly less violent, these instances of trying to harm targeted businesses and business owners are becoming alarmingly more commonplace.
Recently, Megyn Kelly's book, Settle for More, was the subject of a planned negative cyber attack. A barrage of one star reviews were left, affecting her book's ranking and trying to deter book sales. And it's not just her.
A year ago, I gave a glowing review to Vicki Abelson's book, Don't Jump here on Huffington Post. Similarly, she recently received one star reviews from those who did not agree with the politics on her Facebook page.
It doesn't seem to be enough anymore for people to simply boycott products. We've reached a point where people are seeking to inflict as much harm and pain as possible, because their perception is they have a right to do that.
Have we really drawn a line in the sand? What will the bottom line be as a result?
Will it matter to the Koch brothers that I am no longer buying Angel Soft toilet paper? And will it matter to Kellogg that I like their politics so I'm willing to buy products I wouldn't normally purchase?
To the entrepreneurs like the pizza store owner in D.C. or Ms. Abelson, can enough of us support them to have a reverse affect? Will we see a rise in some sales because of politics and a dip in others?
All I know is a page has turned in our history. Politics is no longer a separate entity that we can tell ourselves does not impact any other area of our lives. It never really was, but people wouldn't acknowledge that.
This time, we're taking notice. Who are our friends, Facebook or otherwise? What do we choose to say and to whom? Who is trustworthy and who is worth blocking, not only from our social media pages, but from our lives? What are we willing to stand up for? What are we endorsing - not just with our votes, but with our decisions in every area of our lives?
It's a new day in America. Who will flourish or perish remains to be seen. I hope for all our sake we make the right choices and not just the expedient ones.