Tag Archives: boycotts

Boycotts prove to be a counterproductive statement

I’ll get this off my chest right off the top.

I hate boycotts of businesses because their ownership happens to adhere to a certain political point of view or supports a certain political officeholder.

Home Depot is the latest mega-business to feel the sting of boycott. Its owner and founder, Bernie Marcus, happens to support Donald J. Trump’s re-election in 2020; he is pledging lots of money to assist in that effort.

Social media have exploded over this development. Social media users are seeking to boycott the company because Home Depot just cannot possibly be allowed to support and endorse Trump.

Good grief, man!

Why do I hate boycotts? They inflict too much collateral damage on individuals and families who get caught in the crossfire.

Now, do I endorse Home Depot’s corporate view in support of Trump? Of course not! But that’s not the point here. My intense refusal to take part in such an activity is because I would be taking money away from the store employees who might share the view of their corporate ownership.

Why punish the store clerk, or the warehouse personnel, or the drivers, or service technicians, or the installers? For all any of us knows, they might be on our side in this dispute, but draw a paycheck from someone on the other side.

I would be inclined to join a boycott only if the store clerk demanded I give money to a political campaign or preached to me about the virtues of a candidate or an officeholder with whom I have strong disagreements.

Anything short of that? It’s a meaningless gesture.

Boycotts hurt more than they help

Let me be clear.

I detest boycotts in response to bad public policy. The Indiana legislature enacted a bad bill, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which Gov. Mike Pence signed into law.

The reaction across the country has been to boycott Indiana. Business leaders are encouraging Americans to stay away, don’t do business in the Hoosier State.

What precisely do boycotts accomplish? To my mind, they inflict significant collateral damage on business owners who well might oppose the public policy that’s been enacted in their name.

RFRA is intended to protect business owners from being sued for refusing service to individuals based on “religious beliefs.” The law has been interpreted as giving license to discriminate against gay people.

Thus, the calls for boycotts have been launched.

I detest this tactic as a political response.

To my way of thinking, a more reasonable response is to send letters to the offending politicians. Leave the business owners out of this fight. They’ve been used as pawns by politicians. They shouldn’t be used as pawns by those who the politicians have offended.

If there was the textbook definition of “political football,” the business owners victimized by angry boycotts fit the bill.