One afternoon back in the early 1990s, while I was toiling away in the old Organic Foods Express warehouse, a gentleman carrying a clipboard came walking in and asked me if I’d like to become a member of the local Chamber of Commerce chapter. I thought, “Sure! I would like to get to know some like-minded business folks in the area.” I didn’t know a lot about the Chamber, but generally had a good impression of them.
But then the man ranted about stopping Ted Kennedy from stealing a variety of our rights. I was surprised by the blatant partisanship, so decided to opt out on becoming a member.
I’ve been keeping a close eye on the Chamber and, even though the Chamber has a reputation for being a wholesome, small-town, all-American apple pie organization, I have come to realize that it is a group that knee-jerkingly opposes just about everything I support.
I have a dear friend who is about as passionate about protecting and restoring the environment as anyone I know. Being a businessman, he belongs to a couple of local Chamber chapters. I recently told him he should withdraw his membership, but he pushed back commenting on how the local Montgomery County chapters were different (more progressive) than typical chapters. That is probably true, but I don’t think the members realize that they are financially supporting an organization that is doing harm.
I was just recently reading an article in Rolling Stone Magazine about global warming. This particular excerpt is very telling…
In 2009, for the first time, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce surpassed both the Republican and Democratic National Committees on political spending; the following year, more than 90 percent of the Chamber’s cash went to GOP candidates, many of whom deny the existence of global warming. Not long ago, the Chamber even filed a brief with the EPA urging the agency not to regulate carbon – should the world’s scientists turn out to be right and the planet heats up, the Chamber advised, “populations can acclimatize to warmer climates via a range of behavioral, physiological and technological adaptations.” As radical goes, demanding that we change our physiology seems right up there.