Unless you have been in a coma recently, you probably know that retail company Target just gave over $150,000 to buy ads supporting ultra-conservative Republican candidate Tom Emmer in his run for governor in Minnesota.
Emmer has some weird views; for example, he has tried to amend the Minnesota state constitution to say that Minnesota doesn’t have to follow federal law unless they want to. (I guess he forgot about the Civil War.) He is famously anti-worker and pro-big business.
But he is most famous for his poisonous remarks about gay people and his near-rabid opposition to gay rights. He has donated to—and promoted—a hard rock ministry, and especially a band called You Can Run But You Cannot Hide (YCR). YCR frontman Bradlee Dean commends Islamists for their execution of gays and recentlly said, “On average, they molest 117 people before they’re found out.” (More here.)
Such a large gift was made possible by January’s Supreme Court decision that said capping corporate spending for candidates was an unconstitutional restriction on their freedom of speech, putting us one more step closer to corporate purchasing of candidates.
After an immediate barrage of criticism, Target agreed to donate a matching $150,000 to LGBT rights organizations. But the company backed out at the last minute and now refuses to change its decision. In essence, they say it’s a business decision. Well, duh. It’s bound to be good business to pour tons of money into a candidate who promises you the world when he’s elected.
Whether boycotts work or not is always a question. Our decades-long boycott of Cuba has ultimately resulted in Cubans with a 1.1% unemployment rate (ours is 9.5%) and free healthcare for all Cubans. But the César Chávez-led boycott of table grapes in California in the 1960s was victorious and led to humane housing and basic wages for migrant farm workers. I remember in 1973 when Southern California housewives boycotted beef because of its high prices, resulting in a dramatic drop in prices.
My grandma used to say, “You are the company you keep” and she was right. I don’t think I’ll be hanging out with Target until they back away from this lunatic. Will me not shopping at Target bankrupt the company? I don’t think so. Will 5,000 people not shopping there hurt the company? I doubt it. Will 500,000 people boycotting and marching in front of their local stores hurt the company? Hmm. Now it gets interesting.
Anyway, if you are interested, contact Target customer relations at 612-696-3400 or firstname.lastname@example.org and let them know how you feel. I did, and I won’t be shopping at Target until something changes.
I like this group, who organized a flash mob performance at their local Target store. It makes one wonder: “When was the last time you felt this passionate about anything?”