How do you go from green to red? From the youngest president of the Sierra Club, to a corporate-crony at one of the most polluted money-grubbing machines in the history of mankind?
Just ask Adam Werbach, of Act Now Productions, the progressive DVD club Ironweed and the Apollo Clean Energy Alliance Board. He'd whip out a gun and tell you it's to protect the peace (hmm...maybe in addition to Wal-Mart he can sign up the NRA as a client to "improve things from the inside?").
Werbach has joined the Wal-Mart borg, and is actually trying to convince those with the ability to reason that he will change things from within the company. He is working on their "sustainability" project, which means he is somehow under the impression that there is something Wal-Mart wishes to sustain besides high profits and low wages.
Oh, that's right, they will also be sustaining his bank account with a rumored $400K per year fee that should ensure those late night sweats over environmental degradation don't reach a level that would threaten to tarnish the silver plating on his bed.
Werbach whines that many of his liberal friends no longer talk to him. I wonder why that may be (although sadly I am suspicious he is exaggerating). Could it be, and I am just spitballing here, that the company he once called "a new breed of toxin," is now his employer? Perhaps his old friends know the following about his new friends and financial sponsor:
Five of the 10 richest people in the country are from the founding Walton family. But to help the company offer its proclaimed "Every Day Low Prices," workers are paid an average of $17,530 a year, nearly $2,000 below the poverty level of a family of four. Almost half of the children of those associates are uninsured or on Medicaid. In California alone, that annually costs taxpayers $86 million, according to the New York Times.
Score one for progressive corporate governance!
What Werbach needs to realize is that Wal-Mart is beyond improvement and yes, beyond redemption. You want lead in your kids' toys or poison in your food, well then Wal-Mart's A-O-K. As Erin Burnett of CNBC recently said in moment when she let her guard down:
"I think people should be careful what they wish for on China. If China were to revalue its currency, or China is to start making, say, toys that don't have lead in them or food that isn't poisonous, their costs of production are going to go up, and that means prices at Wal-Mart here in the United States are going to go up too."
Yes, such is the symbiotic relationship between Wal-Mart and China, that this is apparently the choice we all have to make. Hey, the Waltons may be loaded, but if it'll save a few pennies, they'll let you eat cake--replete with rat poison and a scrumptious lead-based frosting.
Well Werbach's remaining progressive friends have a decision to make too. As the saying goes: if you sleep with the dogs, you wake up with the fleas.
Werbach has made his bed. It's time for the rest of us who believe in progressive values find our shut-eye in a very different place. Those who really are forward-thinking need to stop working with this man, certainly stop paying him and I would daresay, if you really believe in what you say you do, stop returning his phone calls.
He has chosen to sell out. It doesn't mean we all have to join him in Wonderland.