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Casting My Vote, One Mommy Dollar At A Time

With the cost of energy rising and the
state of the economy crashing, I’ve finally taken it upon
myself to get out there and actually shop for an energy plan.
I’m in one of those de-regulated areas and so am inundated
with electrical companies vying for my dollar, and as we prepared
to move from New York to Dallas I couldn’t cope and simply
picked a month-to-month plan with a popular provider.

This week, though, I forced myself to dig
through the pages and pages of different types of offers, finding a
way to comparison shop and figure out what everyone’s really
offering. And in the end we had it narrowed down to two plans: one
was with a solid company and probably the cheapest rate I’d
found anywhere; the second was with a smaller but still good
company, cost a half-cent per kilowatt hour more, and was
electricity generated from 100% renewable resources.

We’re trying to get our monthly bills down to the bone, but
Brian and I both agreed this was a prime place to put our money
where our family mouth is, and signed up for the
“clean” energy contract. And I gotta tell you,
it’s about eighty bucks a year more, but I’m jumping
around the house for joy at the thought of living coal-free, using
sustainable, low-pollution electricity for the next twelve

This got me thinking about all the choices
I make for our family in a week, and the ramifications that follow.
In today’s highly-charged political climate politics seem to
be in everything, and I find myself wishing I had a hundred more
votes to cast come November, to make my voice really heard.

But in truth, I cast a vote every time I spend money, and as the
household manager and financial accountant in the family
that’s no small thing. Every time I go to the grocery store
and buy an organic apple that costs ten cents more than its
non-organic cousin, I’m making my voice heard. I’m
saying this issue matters to me. And I know that over a year, as
they notice they’re selling more local-made organic milk, it
will come to matter to my grocery store owners. Who will make it
matter to their lobbyists in Washington.

We’ve got debates swirling around us on the news, sound bites
and sharpshooting coming from both sides. But you can bet that both
candidates are doing extensive polling, trying to figure out how
much America really cares about our dependency on foreign oil;
organic, pesticide-free farming; finding usable alternatives to
coal-produced electricity; securing safe, affordable drugs for
everyone in America. Somewhere along the line, my consistent
purchase of organic, pasture-fed beef has been noted, commented on,
studied and passed on up the line.

So often as mommies we feel voiceless, out of the loop, especially
if we’re stay-at-homes with no “real” career or
outlet in the “grownup” world. We forget that the hand
that rocks the cradle, rules the world. And not just because
we’re raising up future presidents, CEOs, doctors, lawmakers.
But our everyday decisions – do we allow those soda machines
to stay in the elementary school? Is it worth it to spend more on
organic fruit and take the Teddy Grahams out of the cart to cover
the cost? Do I want paper, plastic, or to bring my own bag? –
are ones that, quarter by quarter, dollar by dollar, define America
as we know it. And politicians are deeply interested in figuring
out who America is, if only because it will get them re-elected.

So think about that next time you head out on an errand –
you’re not just picking up wipes, you’re shaping
domestic policy.


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