For a few months prior to the 2004 election, my daughter and her children lived with her inlaws. Her Navy husband had had to go on ahead, and Daughter and the kids followed once housing was available.
One day while she was still living here, Daughter and I were running errands. Among them was a trip to the commissary. In addition to the groceries she needed for herself and the kids, she had a little bit of cash from the inlaws and a short list of things they wanted her to pick up.
As we were driving, Daughter said, "Mom, FIL wants me to get ketchup."
"Mom," she said, "he said it has to be HUNT'S. Nothing but Hunt's. He said he wasn't giving any of his money to that liberal Kerry by buying Heinz ketchup. He was really mad about it."
We had a good laugh, and she bought the Hunt's; the Hunt's/Heinz thing has become something of a shorthand between us when we talk about her in-laws.
Last night Daughter and I had a long phone conversation. The in-laws had just finished a short visit at her house, and she was talking about something that had happened at dinner, but then she interrupted herself (as we often do -- I'll bet you do, too) to tell me about a special moment at the table. FIL picked up the ketchup -- the Heinz ketchup.
"He looked at it for a long time," Daughter said. "He didn't say anything but I could see he was thinking about it."
Because dinner with two little ones at the table is lively, she never really noticed whether FIL actually used the ketchup.
This conversation reminded me of the Buy Blue site. I hadn't been there in some time, but the last time I looked I was quite disheartened -- I concluded that to be politically and socially responsible I'd have to stop eating, drinking, and buying clothes, at the very least. However, the ketchup incident sent me back to look, and I was mostly pleasantly surprised. Many of the places I shop are either blue, neutral, or represented by rather small elephants. I can substitute "bluer" (or less red) businesses for some I currently use. (The directory can also be viewed according to category or ranking.) It pleased me to see that while Blockbuster is represented by a medium-sized red elephant (because it makes more donations to Rs than Ds), my new love Netflix has a small blue donkey, representing its contributions to mostly Ds. Amazon makes many more R donations than D, while Barnes & Noble's medium-sized blue donkey represents not only its Democratic donations, but also props for "employment equality" and "social responsibility." I love Amazon's site, but I can get books at B&N just fine, thank you, and thanks to Netflix I'll be buying very few movies anyway.
The funniest statistic, though, I've saved for last. While it might be true that the purchase of a bottle of Heinz ketchup puts a little change into the personal pocketbook of Teresa Heinz Kerry and her husband to do with as they will, the H. J. Heinz Corporation makes generous donations -- currently 71% of its donations -- to the REPUBLICAN party. (Con-Agra Foods, Inc., maker of Hunt's ketchup, isn't listed on the Buy Blue site at all.)
So FIL, keep on boycotting Heinz. It'll make you feel good, but it'll make me feel even better.