In the grand scheme of things, Ben & Jerry most likely didn’t notice when I stopped eating their ice cream. I didn’t walk outside their stores carrying a protest sign; I didn’t write a letter to the newspaper announcing my decision and I certainly didn’t suggest to elected officials that their stores should be made unwelcome.
However, my ears perked up when Dennis Prager, whose columns and radio show I admire, suggested that Mitt Romney should have made a public show of eating a Chick-fil-A hamburger along with a Ben & Jerry ice cream. His reasoning included the idea that, “Romney’s message would be that in America, with rare exceptions (such as, for example, a Nazi- or KKK-owned company), we buy products based on their excellence, not the views of their makers.”
On political issues, my thinking almost always aligns with Dennis’ and I appreciate his logical articulation of ideas. In this case, while I think his point is generally true, I disagree with his suggestion. I am typing this Musing using Microsoft Word and living in the Northwest I have downed more than my share of Starbucks coffee. This is despite that fact that I disagree with some of the causes that Bill and Melinda Gates or Howard Schulz support. I respect the generosity, particularly of the Gates, and recognize their backing of many in need. I don’t expect their views to be carbon copies of mine. Nevertheless, as an individual, I drew a line at being a consumer of Ben & Jerry’s company, even after they were no longer involved in its management. I did this when my children heard Ben and Jerry speak at a conference in a way that showed disrespect for and ill will toward the American military at a time when our troops were in combat. As Dennis noted, other of their positions verge more to an extreme that is beyond simply articulating another respectable point of view.
My loss of appetite for Coffee Heath Bar Crunch wasn’t intended as a boycott, expecting my actions to hurt the company’s bottom line. It was a message to me. Every time I walk past the ice cream section of my supermarket, ignoring the siren call even of the sale-priced cartons, I am reminded to say a prayer for our soldiers and to think with gratitude of them and their families. Calling it a sacrifice would be grossly self-aggrandizing. It is a quiet, simple way for me to concentrate my appreciation and patriotism.
I strongly agree with Dennis that the Romney campaign blew a huge opportunity to take a principled stand regarding the liberal hate-filled desire to punish Chick-fil-A for its owner’s views. While I will vote for Mr. Romney, the manner in which he has been running his campaign, as exemplified by his silence on this issue, has eroded the respect and confidence I would like to grant him. (I do hope that the Ryan pick signals a course correction.) However, in my opinion, the candidate’s eating Ben & Jerry’s ice cream would have been a further step in the wrong direction.
5 thoughts on “Message to Me”
I appreciate this musing. I’d read Prager’s article and felt it wasn’t quite right, but neither was I entirely sure it was wrong. I’m mostly not into formal boycotts, because life is already too complicated. On the other hand, with every purchase decision I make, I realize I’m financially rewarding someone, and I feel obligated to consider the consequences. But, as I say, things get complicated. For example, in considering a new car, I’d like to buy an American car from an American company. The Chevy Sonic catches my eye. But many components are imported, and I’m painfully aware of the role of the UAW in bringing down GM, and the way the bailouts saved the UAW more than they saved the auto industry. So, darnit, I’ve already paid my dues to GM by the act of being a taxpayer; there’s no reason for me to buy their cars, and in fact there’s really no reason for them to even build cars anymore. Just sit around and wait for a check from Uncle Sugar. It’s the American way. Don’t get me started! Anyway, back to Ben & Jerry’s, yeah, I remember an old interview in Forbes with one of those guys, and he basically said they wouldn’t hire Republicans. His actual words were to the effect that a Republican probably wouldn’t want to work there. So much for diversity. But it’s easy for me to boycott Ben & Jerry’s, because I steer clear of ice cream. With the government taking over health care, getting sick is a bad idea. I guess the theory is if the quality of the product declines, people will be motivated to not use it. Was I making a point here? I forget. Anyway, yeah, Susan is correct.
There should be a like button for these blogs. I’ve found when I am very much in agreement with the writer, and the post is entertaining as well, to “like” is all that is needed. LIKE 🙂
You said it so well, as did Susan. Thanks, Susan, for this particular “Musing”, and thank you, Paulette, for your concise comment. I agree with both of you completely.
The timing of this musing is perfect for me. I find it frustrating to hear the news media applaud anyone who supports what they define as “diversity and tolerance”, yet try to annihilate anyone whose opinion differs or who supports traditional marriage. I am supposed to be tolerant of the opposition point of view, but they have NO toleration for mine. Interestingly, I find that the media deliberately asks questions to those in the “spotlight” (such as Kirk Cameron) that they know will create a reaction with the same-sex marriage advocates. Everyone is entitled to their opinion as long as it lines up with the liberal left. So, now, I will use the example you gave and say a prayer for those who are misguided, those who are afraid to disagree for fear of the kind of reaction that Chick-fil-A experienced, and for me, to continue to love those who need it the most.
Boycott was the name of an agent of an absentee landlord in Ireland. He was perceived as cruel and insensitive. So he found himself subject to organized isolation, both social and economic. Nobody would work for him or do business with him. Due to the unusual and artful flexibility of the English language, the name Boycott became both a new noun and a verb to denote methodical shunning as isolation or as punishment.
Boycott, when implemented with principle, discipline and consistency, can be an effective method of social protest or merely a cruel weapon. Hands and tongues like guns and knives can be used for good or for evil ends. It all depends upon the underlying motivation.
Which is better defensible, the boycott of an ice cream company or the boycott of a chicken fast food chain?
a) The ice cream company magnate made statements hateful to our military heroes in uniform
b) The CEO of the chicken restaurant chain simply stated his opinion, to wit: marriage as sanctioned by God is between a man and a woman. He stated or implied no hatred toward anyone
The law judges us according to our deeds. God will judge us according to our deeds as well, but also for whatever resides in our hearts. Boycott as you will, but do it with love and not out of hatred. Other than that, the Jews are free to boycott pork and vegetarians are free to boycott meat. The Amish are free to boycott war. Just do it for the right reasons.
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