Starbucks’ Lysistrata Moment for Politicians

Starbucks Brand Mark

Lysistrata is one of eleven surviving Greek plays written by Aristophanes. Wikipedia says it was originally performed in classical Athens in 411 BC as a comic account of one woman’s extraordinary mission to end The Peloponnesian War. Lysistrata persuades the women of Greece to withhold sex from their husbands to force the men to negotiate peace in a battle between the sexes. The play is notable for being an early exposé of sexual politics in a male-dominated society.

Did you see the news report that the members of the new “supercommittee” in Congress designed to figure out what the next move will be after the debt deal landed with a thud on America’s kitchen table are raking in political contributions from lobbyists trying to protect their clients.   Here on Main Street that is called by various names like bribery, extortion, and influence peddling and if any of us tried that we’d get the “Go Directly to Jail” card in the monopoly game.  But in Washington they do things differently.

Is that all there is?  That was the typical reaction of most Americans after learning that all that fuss and fury produced no actual reduction in any government spending but merely promised to bend the shape of the additional spending curve slightly over the next ten years.

What#$%&*! (expletive deleted)


But today came a breath of fresh air as we woke up to smell the Starbucks coffeeCEO Howard Shultz said he was ending all his personal and corporate campaign contributions to ALL politicians in both parties until Congress and the President went back to work and produced a spending reduction plan we can believe in!  He called on other CEOs to take the same pledge and put the heat on the politicians where it counts.

Now that is a change we can believe in!


Howard is planning to give our politicians their own Lysistrata moment.  Cutting off a politician’s cash is a fate much worse that Lysistrata inflicted on her husband, and it just might be a good  way to get their attention since the looming fear of election day defeat has a wonderful way of concentrating the mind of every incumbent.

Imagine what might happen is this Starbucks initiative turns into a supersized Venti experience.  We should start by demanding the members of the super committee to pay over every penny they collect in campaign contributions since their appointments were announced to the US Treasury to help pay down the national debt.

Next we ought to extend the Lysistrata treatment to the President and demand that he stop fundraising until a credible deal gets done.

Third we should encourage as many CEOs and other organizations to sign on to Howard’s pledge by holding Lysistrata coffee hours at Starbucks, of course to offer public testimony for the TV cameras about why they too are taking the pledge to hold out.

Way to Go Howard!


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