The Liberal Cell Phone

Sure, you’ve got a great cell phone plan that gives you unlimited dialing, texting, and data for a terrific low price.  And yes, it seldom drops your calls and it can show you how to get to that party at your boss’s house, where to get the best kosher dim sum in town, where to buy blank VHS tapes because you refuse to join the TiVo generation, and what was the top song on the Billboard charts the day you graduated from high school (in The Curmudgeon’s case, “Love Will Keep Us Together” by the Captain and Tennille), but is it a pro-choice cell phone?  Does it care about what’s going in Darfur?  Does it share your contempt for Rush Limbaugh?  Does it drive a Prius?

It does if it’s a Credo Mobile cell phone.

As described in past posts, The Curmudgeon’s politics are pretty far to the left of center, and to feed his interests, he subscribes to a number of leftist publications.  He’s noticed in recent months that a cell phone company – Credo Mobile – advertises in some of those magazines.  The following is part of an advertisement he found in Mother Jones:

Take a close look at your phone company and ask yourself this:  Does my phone company care about industrial pollution, or the assault on women’s rights, or the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, or Wall Street crimes, or other pernicious problems of the day?  More importantly, does your phone company fight [italics in original] to help put an end to them?

No, this isn’t rhetoric from Act Up, Move On, Occupy Wall Street, or a Keith Olbermann rant.  It’s a sales pitch for a cell phone company.

A cell phone company!

Credo Mobile’s web site prattles on, describing the company as “More than a network.  A movement.”  The way the company works is that one percent of customers’ charges are donated to non-profit organizations selected by customers – groups like Oxfam America, Amnesty International, Jobs With Justice, Friends of the Earth, and many others.  Meanwhile, Credo Mobile’s web site has a link that asks “Does your phone company play on the same team as the Koch brothers?”

The Curmudgeon would think this is cute if it were a high school booster club trying to sell soft pretzels to buy new jocks straps for the football team or new laptops for the computer lab, but for a business, he thinks it’s kind of silly.  And rest assured, Credo Mobile is a profit-seeking business, not a “movement” and not a charitable enterprise.

The Curmudgeon likes and supports liberal causes.  He doesn’t buy gasoline at Exxon for the obvious reason, never did business with a now-defunct bank in Philadelphia called First Pennsylvania because of its reputation for anti-semitism, and never, ever crosses a labor union’s picket line.  In general, though – and there certainly are exceptions – he prefers to select his products based on their merits and then to make his charitable giving decisions separately, based on the causes themselves.  He doesn’t eat any “Newman’s Own” products because he’s yet to find one he finds even remotely palatable – he still can’t figure out how a company can so profoundly botch lemonade and salad dressing – and he’ss never swayed by a company exhibiting a pink ribbon in its advertising or on its products because he knows that’s just a cynical marketing ploy in which the company invests next to nothing, rakes in huge new profits by associating with a popular cause, and then contributes a miniscule portion of those profits to the cause.

No, while The Curmudgeon will remain a card-carrying member of the ACLU, he doesn’t need his cell phone company – or, for that matter, his bookstore, his auto repair shop, his favorite barbecue joint, or his favorite chocolatier (See’s, by the way, a California company) to help him with his charitable giving.  He’s perfectly capable of making those decisions without help.

All he wants from his cell phone company is a reliable, clear signal and a decent price – even if that company isn’t in the right place on matters like a woman’s right to choose, the minimum wage, and prayer in public schools.

(A programming note:  Notwithstanding the views presented above, The Curmudgeon will have a few choice four-letter words about his current cell phone provider in a future post.  Stay tuned.)

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