Given the urgency of this year's elections, people often ask us to ship them items overnight. "Please FedEx it," they'll say, obliging the Federal Express marketers by using a verb invented just for their own company. (Yes, believe it or not, there is no French equivalent of the verb to FedEx - no nous Fedexons!).
If someone absolutely, positively has to have something right away, we'll go to Federal Express or United Parcel Service (UPS). However, for our day-to-day business we do not ship our packages overnight by Federal Express or United Parcel Service (UPS).
Part of this decision is practical. The plain fact is that Federal Express and UPS have a terrible record of getting packages delivered on time. There are plenty of times we've paid through the teeth to send something overnight, only to have it arrive three or four days later. Also, we know that Federal Express and UPS, unlike the United States Postal Service, only has offices in cities and suburbs. For those of our customers who live in rural areas, an extra wait is tacked on. We also live in the countryside, ten minutes outside the nearest town of just 1,000 residents. We have a post office, but have to drive almost an hour to drop off a box at a Federal Express office.
Another reason to avoid sending packages overnight is aesthetic. Some of us have spent time working with corporate America, and we were disturbed by the emphasis big businesses put on rushing everything as fast as they can. There's something to be said for the value of patience, and sending packages overnight seems to be in the same category as making cell phone calls from the cereal aisle at the grocery store.
However, the most important reason we have for avoiding Federal Express and UPS is as political as the buttons and bumper stickers that we ship. We're against the policies of George W. Bush, and opposed to the Republicans who control Congress, and so we are forced to take a stand against Federal Express and UPS as well.
Every box that gets shipped by Federal Express or UPS puts more money in the hands of the Republicans and the Bush/Cheney re-election campaign. In effect, every package sent overnight by UPS or Federal Express is a vote for Bush.
You probably haven't heard much about it, but both Federal Express and UPS are big players in Republican politics. The two companies have even gone so far as to set up their own political action committees, the Federal Express Political Action Committee and the United Parcel Service Political Action Committee.
Ponder this for a minute: What kind of political agenda would the Federal Express Political Action Committee and the United Parcel Service Political Action Committee be interested in? You guessed it: These special committees exist for no other purpose than to use political donations to get Federal Express what Federal Express wants, and to get UPS what UPS wants.
Federal Express and UPS want George W. Bush to get a second term as President. Federal Express and UPS want the Republicans to control the United States Congress. We want neither, and so we do not send packages by UPS or Federal Express.
Now, strictly speaking, corporations like Federal Express and UPS are not allowed to give money to political candidates. However, when these corporations set up pay packages for their executives, it is understood that a certain portion of that pay will be put into the corporate political action committees. And who is in charge of the Federal Express Political Action Committee and the United Parcel Service Political Action Committee? Why, employees of Federal Express and UPS, respectively, manage those political action committees. Through this little bit of dishonest money laundering, Federal Express and UPS manage to make big political donations, almost all to Republicans, in spite of the law.
Take a look at the graphics on the right, and you'll see that Federal Express and UPS are both big supporters of the radical policies of the current Republican leadership. They've written huge checks to the Bush/Cheney re-election campaign, and neither company's political action committee has given a single red cent to John Kerry's campaign.
Furthermore, even though Federal Express and UPS have given some token donations to powerful Democratic politicians, they've given substantially more to the Republican elite in Congress. In the 2004 election year so far, the Federal Express Political Action Committee has given 68% of its donations to Republicans, and UPS was even worse, giving 73% of its donations to Republicans.
Federal Express and UPS are not making political donations to be good citizens, of course. They expect special favors from Bush and the Republicans in return. In order to get these favors, corporations like UPS and Federal Express are willing to overpower small, grassroots activists. The only way to stop them from doing so is to cut off their oxygen. If you don't like the policies of Bush and the Republican elite, then you need to send your packages from the post office, not through Federal Express or UPS.
By the way, the information we use in this article is all easily available to the public through a great web site set up by the Center for Responsive Politics. You can find it at OpenSecrets.org - a resource that can help smart progressives spend their money wisely, finding out which companies are supporting the Bush/Cheney regime, so that we can take our business elsewhere.
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