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Politics, culture, and American life — from the family perspective.

To Boycott or Not to Boycott?


All of this talk of Chick-Fil-A really makes it hard to stay on one’s diet.

It also brings up some questions, mainly about supporting businesses which hold different political views. My friends are lamenting that they can no longer listen to Carrie Underwood because she recently came out for gay marriage. They also were saddened that they cannot shop at Target because of the new wedding-registry ads featuring a gay couple and the greeting cards targeting homosexuals. Of course, they can’t eat Proctor and Gamble foods, because of the “gay Oreo” ad made for “pride” month. Additionally, they wondered if they should still shop at Office Depot, in spite of its association with Lady Gaga’s pro-homosexuality “Born This Way Foundation.”

All of this makes it complicated when you’re just trying to pick up a few things at the store.

How do we navigate these waters? Do conservatives need to boycott Target, Office Depot, Carrie Underwood, Procter and Gamble, and — perish the thought — Ben & Jerry’s?

As I said while discussing this with the kids today (while we were decidedly not back-to-school shopping at Target): it’s complicated.

First, Carrie Underwood answered a question put to her by an interviewer, just like Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy did. She’s not out there singing songs like “Jesus, Give Me the Wheel Because I Think Gay Marriage Should Be Fine.” She has a great voice, and everyone — no matter your political persuasion — can appreciate a girl taking a Louisville slugger to a cheater’s truck. Chick-fil-A makes great food, and everyone — no matter your political persuasion — can enjoy a fantastic chicken sandwich.

However, Target, Office Depot, and Proctor and Gamble are trying to shove their political opinions down their customers’ throats by actually incorporating gay themes into ads and initiatives. To me, its less obvious how to deal with these businesses. I’m not advocating for a boycott of Target, but this year I bought all my kids’ binders from Pottery Barn. (Yes, it cost more, but I could’ve gone to Wal-Mart where it costs less.) And we bought our back-to-school clothes somewhere else too.

Is it an iron-clad rule that I’ll never frequent these stores again? Not necessarily.

However, I definitely consider their in-your-face politics when I get in the car and decide where I’m going. After all, is Office Depot better than Staples? I can drive to one just as easily as the other.

Are there generic cookies just as good as Oreos? Well, my friends and I are having a good time taste-testing those other options.

Again, sticking to your principles has been pretty tasty lately.

Constitutional attorney David French further explores why he too is deeply ambivalent about boycotts and generally doesn’t participate in them in his article “Chick-fil-A, Boycotts, and Our Free Speech Culture.”


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