Target (now included in the definition of "person" according to the Supreme Court) gave a donation to the Republican candidate for governor in Minnesota, Tom Emmer. Emmer is very out-spoken in his opposition to issues of concern to gay rights groups. As a result of this donation, gay rights groups are calling for a boycott of Target.
Wait, it gets more complicated. Target has a long history of being "unwavering" (the word Target's CEO used) in its support of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender workers.
So, here we have a company donating to a candidate for governor who opposes the rights of workers that said company is unwavering in support of. Huh?
What's a person to do?
One mother has made her decision. Randi Reitan, the mother of a gay son, decided on a one-woman protest. You can see what her response was here.
When I first read her story, I felt the tugging of boycotts long past. It's been a while since I boycotted a national company. There was the grapes boycott, in support of farm workers; there was the boycott of Nestlé . This latter one REALLY got complicated when you started following the string of who owned whom and was affiliated with whom. Talk about multi-national intertwining of corporate interests.
I posted the link of Randi Reitan's response on Facebook with a note that I too would be boycotting Target for a time. Well, I got two responses--one from a dear cousin who posted the EXACT same link and indicated that "Let Target know you DO NOT support this boycott, but rather SUPPORT them in their decision to donate to Tom Emmer's campaign!! I typically don't get involved in these issues, but I believe it's time we LET OUR VOICES BE HEARD!!"
I also got a note from a FB friend who pointed out Target's long-standing commitment to supporting gay and lesbian rights.
Then I wondered--was this what it was like pre-Civil War. No, I am not issuing dire warnings that that is where we are headed. But, I do ponder--have we become so schizophrenic on some of these issues that we meet ourselves coming and going. Is it possible to hold civil dialogue on such issues? Can we find common ground anywhere?
I do wish that the media would enable such dialogue. I am a strong supporter of a free press in part because that can foster dialogue. But what do we get instead? Angry voices pushing harder to have us face-off.
I could have used the recent Shirley Sherrod incident as an example. That sad episode illustrates painfully how quickly we rush to judgment without bothering to dig for all the facts.
Where does that leave me? Confused. Saddened. Numbed. Will I boycott Target? Still thinking on this point. Ultimately what matters to me is whether my action does more good than harm.
Oh yeah--it's complicated.