As a society, our priorities are screwed up. We reward bad behavior, and we reward it richly with money, fame, excuses, and ratings. You see it most in entertainment with reality television following spoiled housewives and over sexed twenty-somethings and in the news with starlets serving a couple of weeks of a nine month sentence. You also see it when the star football player is arrested with a DUI and gets off with a shrug and a “boys will be boys.”

There’s a saying, “vote with your dollar.” Every time you watch that terrible reality show, every time you choose to read the tabloid full of exposes, every time you decide to buy the numbered jersey–you are voting. You are showing your support of unethical, selfish, materialistic mayhem.

Why not vote with your dollar for something better? Why not vote by watching the in-depth documentary that shows the plight of  the poor, the abused, and slighted and bring light to those issues? Why not vote by buying a book or article that shows the heroic, the unselfish, and other good deeds happening on the sidelines? Why not vote by recognizing the teachers, first responders, laborers, parents, and other people living honest, good lives?

You can also vote with the products you buy. Go for the fair trade coffee, choose the ethically grown cotton, support the company that pays fair wages and donates to a good cause. You still get your latte, your little black dress, and your new pair of tennis shoes. If you can get the same product then why not vote for the stand up company that actually stands for something besides a bottom line?

I’ll say it again, our priorities are screwed up. It’s time to change. Vote with your dollar. Stop rewarding bad behavior and start sending a new message.