I’m finding it sad today that I have to boycott so many businesses due to political reasons. Mind you, the reasons are way more than valid, so boycott I must.
For starters, I’m officially boycotting Lowe’s as of this morning. The home improvement store pulled its ads from a show about 5 Muslim families living in Detroit called All-American Muslim. A right-wing group started a ball rolling to get public view of the show swayed to their way of thinking, quoted as calling the show, “propaganda that riskily hides the Islamic agenda’s clear and present danger to American liberties and traditional values.” Lowe’s did an about-face and pulled their ads.
Yes, their are some Muslims out there posing a threat to innocent lives. There is no denying that. But we as a race (the human one, that is) cannot continue to treat an entire people with mistrust and hatred. There are also Catholics blowing up innocent Protestant civilians in Ireland and England for being Protestants. We’re not (so far as I know) publishing propaganda vilifying the Catholic religion as a whole for it.
As a person born to a Jewish household, believe me, I’ve seen and felt prejudice, and yes, I have to admit that I’m scared when it comes to Islamic extremists. As with Hitler’s Third Reich, there are Muslims who’d want me dead simply because I was born to members of the Jewish faith. It would not matter to them what my own actual religious or political views are, what kind of person I am or try to become, just that I was born Jewish. I grew up actually ashamed of it. Every time a person in middle school dropped a coin, if the person then went to retrieve it, other kids would call him a “Jew”. I was afraid that if they hated Jews so much they’d taunt someone who was not Jewish this way, what would they do if they knew I actually was? And of course I was brought up hearing of the atrocities of WWII.
And I knew as an adult of extremist Muslim hatred, and 9/11 showed how close they could really get. Oh, yes, I do know fear for simply having a different descent than others and being a target because of it. But this fear cannot be allowed to dictate how Muslims, or people from Zaire, or Mongolia or any other background are treated. This television program should be valuable as a way to open doors to love and understanding, and Lowe’s caved to the pressure of hatred and ignorance. People of my background have been hated, and I will do my damnedest not to do it to someone else’s people.
The next boycott is of Chic-Fil-A, which is difficult because I absolutely love their product. I don’t really eat fast food, but if I do, that would be what I’d want. I haven’t done Burger King, McDonald’s, or Taco Bell in years. Chic-Fil-A is a step above them all in quality (and digestibility), but they have gone on record against the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender community. They’ve even sponsored groups and legislation against the community, especially against same-sex marriage.
I don’t think it’s anyone’s business what I am, but I am in fact not any of the above. I just know that humans come in various packages, and cannot help what those packages are, just as I had no say in my origins and makeup. Human decency is human decency.
I’m aware that this company is founded, owned, and run by Mormons,which is of course a religious group, so it isn’t as much a surprise that those in charge of Chic-Fil-A feel this way. But when you are a company in the customer service industry, those things should stay behind close doors. You want to be a bigot? Go ahead. Just don’t be surprised when you have less customers than you used to, and you can count me as one less, too. I incidentally also heard recently that they won’t allow Jewish franchise owners or managers, but I haven’t substantiated that at this point.
I have several friends from the LGBT community, and if I had to guess what percentage of people I’ve known came from the LGBT community and treated me respectfully vs. what percentage I’ve believed were straight and treated me the same, it would probably be 90% and 15 or 20%.
Another factor besides decency and solidarity with my friends that helps me in this decision is an interview I once read with Steven Tyler, the singer from the group Aerosmith. In the article, Tyler was asked what his thoughts on homosexuality were considering his reputation for having relations with countless women over his career. His response was that there is so little love in this world, that if love exists between two people, ANY two people, to let it be, accept it, and be happy that there is love. That will always stay with me (unless Alzheimer’s sets in). So my stance on same-sex marriage and the LGBT community is the same: let it be, and be happy there is love.
My final boycott I will list here is of the Philadelphia Eagles. I immediately boycotted the team when they signed the animal abuser and killer Michael Vick. If you’ve read any of my previous posts or know me, you have probably guessed by now my level of animal activism. The Eagles are my home-town team, but they are dead to me.
I always get the “he did his time” and “people deserve a second chance” crap. My view is that if you are the kind of person who gets enjoyment from another creature’s suffering, you most likely will not change that. If you can look a dog in the eyes, hear it crying in pain for mercy and not only not relent but continue, you will not likely stop being that person simply from 18 months in jail.
Vick is now employed as a quarterback again on a professional franchise making millions (although admittedly most of that money is taken from him to pay for damages incurred by his dog fighting ring and all of the legal expenses, plus other debts). If this wasn’t enough, I even am made ill by the Eagles fans who vowed to not renew their season tickets and join me in at least some level of boycott, and then went and bought his jersey when he started scoring touchdowns. Way to stick to your convictions (or even have them), folks. But it wasn’t just the fighting of dogs. I won’t brow-beat you with the details, but it was as inhumane and brutal a treatment of animals as it could have been. There are 31 other teams I’d rather see win the Super Bowl.
So there is my Official 2011-12 Boycott list. If you agree with anything I’ve written here and want to join me, welcome aboard. If nothing else, I hope I’ve at least given you something to consider.