As we approach Inauguration Day, with its $40 million in celebratory festivities, many Americans with less to celebrate are planning to engage in wide variety of protests, ranging from a CounterInaugural Demonstration in Washington DC to the perhaps less effectual "Wear Blue" approach and a Student Walkout. My favorite, and one that has a chance of sending a real message, is the "Not One Damn Dime Day" action scheduled for Jan. 20. I recently got this e-mail from a friend: "Not One Damn Dime Day - Jan 20, 2005 Since our religious leaders will not speak out against the war in Iraq, since our political leaders don't have the moral courage to oppose it, since Bush is wasting 40 MILLION dollars on his inauguration party…while the soldiers have inadequate armor and too few of them to create or maintain peace in Iraq… Inauguration Day, Thursday, January 20th, 2005 is "Not One Damn Dime Day" in America. On "Not One Damn Dime Day" those who oppose what is happening in our name in Iraq can speak up with a 24-hour national boycott of all forms of consumer spending. During "Not One! Damn Dime Day" please don't spend money. Not one damn dime for gasoline. Not one damn dime for necessities or for impulse purchases. Not one damn dime for nothing for 24 hours. On "Not One Damn Dime Day," please boycott Wal-Mart, Kmart, Target… Please don 't go to the mall or the local convenience store. Please don't buy any fast food (or any groceries at all for that matter). For 24 hours, please do what you can to shut the retail economy down. The object is simple. Remind the people in power that the war in Iraq is immoral and illegal; that they are responsible for starting it and that it is their responsibility to stop it. "Not One Damn Dime Day" is to remind them, too, that they work for the people of the United States of America, not for the international corporations and K Street lobbyists who represent the corporations and funnel cash into American politics. "Not One Damn Dime Day" is about support ting the troops. The politicians put the troops in harm's way. Now 1,200 brave young Americans and (some estimate) 100,000 Iraqis have died. The politicians owe our troops a plan - a way to come home. There's no rally to attend. No marching to do. No left or right wing agenda to rant about. On "Not One Damn Dime Day" you take action by doing nothing. You open your mouth by keeping your wallet closed. For 24 hours, nothing gets spent, not one damn dime, to remind our religious leaders and our politicians of their moral responsibility to end the war in Iraq and give America back to the people. Please email this to as many people as possible. We are the people we have been waiting for and the time is now. Fill the chair." I couldn't trace this idea to its origins, but the earliest mention I found was on SanFranciscoTribe.net, posted Dec. 17. I like this idea a lot. How better to get Republicans' attention than touch them in the pocketbook? And, hey, how easy is it to support a protest that asks you to do nothing?
Jim Rinnert is the art director at In These Times.