Shop local, give local — give back.

The holidays have become so commercial that it’s hard to get excited about almost anything other than the flood of e-mails and advertising being over.  Still, the gift of giving is just that — a gift to ourselves reminding us that being selfish doesn’t accomplish anything.

Instead of just buying products made in other countries and sold by companies in other states who, instead of paying a living wage, rely on the government to provide healthcare and food for their employees, why not spend a few dollars this year in Payne County and Oklahoma to help your neighbors pay their bills in an honest, American way.

There’s a long list of local stores and businesses, but let’s start with just a few of the people who supported the Payne County Democrats this year:

The Red Dirt RangersThe Red Dirt Rangers headlined Diamond Donkey in April providing a much-needed voice to our party this year just as the campaigns were getting started. Residents of Payne County much of their adult lives, they have MusicShirtsKooziesBandanasStickers and other merchandise for sale. If you don’t know anyone who would enjoy that stuff (and who wouldn’t), then make a donation to the Red Dirt Relief Fund or go to the 19th Annual Red Dirt Christmas Show in Tulsa. Better yet, book the Red Dirt Rangers for an event in the coming year.

hands At our picnic in August, Marina Staubus allowed us to use her art to draw attention to our building so that we could maximize turnout. She’s selling a print that would make a great gift while supporting her as an emerging artist. You can contact Marina at the e-mail address above to find out how to buy her art. She has created a lot of art; most of it is for sale and would make great gifts.

We had our best event ever at Brayfest in October and were supported by three great Oklahomans. Our candidates did better here than statewide thanks in large part to the support of these people.

arnoldArnold Hamilton challenged us at Brayfest to get just one additional person each from Payne County to sign up as a subscriber for The Oklahoma Observer and put this important voice for our state on firmer footing. That’s actually pretty easy if every one who reads this gave a gift subscription to the Observer in the name of someone else. You can argue that journalism isn’t art, but opinion is a much needed art form.

chuckIn his song, “The People’s Plea,” Chuck Dunlap hit the nail on the head when he sang “spend a little bit more at your mom and pop store.” Corporations aren’t people, but Chuck is a human being with a family to feed. You can buy Chuck’s songs (half of sales go to charity: water) or you can see him live; either way, you are shopping local. And Chuck needs gigs in the coming year too.

progressWhen Lauren Zuniga said, “Progress is a series of small bold moves. Don’t leave. Here is where we need you.” at her performance at Brayfest, she defined our mission going forward. What people don’t know is that to come here and perform for us, Lauren had to pay for child care and gasoline, to and from Oklahoma City. You can show a little love and thanks by buying Lauren’s Books, Chapbooks, Albums, Cards, and Posters as gifts — especially for people who just don’t get it.

These artists supported us, our candidates and our message this year. They put their art on the line for us. They pay taxes in Payne County and Oklahoma — not Arkansas, New York or some other state not named Oklahoma. Their taxes help sustain our schools, maintain our roads and support the arts. Show these local people that you support them supporting us by buying their goods and services.

If you don’t have anyone that you want to give a gift to, we feel sorry for you, but find a local charity that supports the poor, the good, the needy and the righteous. Find something you believe in and and make a difference in the lives of others. Give back.

Dennis Whiteman, Chair
Payne County Democrats

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