Public Can Play a Role in Supporting Justice
When Darden Restaurants decided to circumvent a new health care regulation requiring them to provide insurance for their full-time employees, they did not reckon with the American public. The media alerted potential customers and the restaurant chain – which owns Red Lobster and Olive Garden – lost a big chunk of its business. Now, the Darden managers are shamefacedly taking it all back in hopes of regaining their lost trade.
I hope the same thing will happen to Hobby Lobby.
We don’t have a Hobby Lobby store around here, but if we did, I would certainly boycott it.
I just read a story distributed by Reader Supported News that raised my hackles. According to Annie-Rose Strasser, writing for ThinkProgress, the craft store chain announced on Friday that it will ignore the ruling of U.S. courts and refuse to provide copay-free birth control access to its employees.
Of course, there will be fines – hefty fines, million-dollar-a-day fines – and of course there will be more court battles.
But to me the most important question is: How will the public react?
If Mr. and Mrs. America decide they will not spend their money at a store that treats its employees illegally in the name of religious bigotry, it could be good-bye Hobby Lobby.
That is the power we ordinary people have.
We can punish evil doers by refusing to give them our hard-earned cash.
We can ensure that our pension funds and other investments do not go to arms manufacturers and other merchants of death, for example. We can pass over tax dodgers and polluters. We can put our money where our hearts dictate as well as our heads.
At the supermarket, we can pass over Koch Brothers products like Brawny paper towels and Angel Soft toilet paper.
We can avoid eateries that discriminate against minorities.
When I was at Munro College in Jamaica, there was a practice called “sending you to Coventry,” and it was more dreaded than any schoolmaster’s cane. If you broke some code that the students held sacred, you were sent to Coventry. Nobody would talk to you or have anything to do with you for a certain period of time. It was awful.
In the adult world, we can do the same thing. We don’t have to depend on a lame legal system in which the courts uphold a dentist’s firing of his “irresistible” assistant (photo above) and in which corporations can buy elections because of a Supreme Court decision.
We can enforce a code of justice ourselves by shunning offenders.
We have power.