Friday, August 13, 2010

Ok, generally I don't get into politics all that much. Call me the black sheep of the community where I live if you like, my students say I'm liberal, whatever that means to them. And yes, to some of them it comes out like a bad taste in their mouth. I've even been asked if I go to church, as a code for you can't possibly have a soul!

I usually just chuckle and remember what it was like to be that age. Sigh...

Anyway, this fiasco with Target has caused quite a stir on both sides of the aisle. On facebook, who is now the authority on current events, the Target page is the headquarters to weigh in on this issue. People have either decided to shop exclusively at Target or to boycott Target altogether.

But what's the issue, really?
According to the AP, Target donated $150,000 to a conservative candidate whose platform included some benefits to businesses. Sounds legit, right? But here's the rub: this candidate is a known, outspoken opponent to same-sex marriage.

And now instead of a conversation about the influence of corporations on political funding and legislation, we're crucifying Target for supporting a candidate with a myriad of positions, one of which directly benefits them. But that's not the one on the table here; here we're talking about same-sex marriage.

Do I care how Target spends its money? Not really. If I do, I shouldn't give them any of mine. PERIOD. Even if they funnel some of it into a cause I care about, if I think I should have a say in where my money goes after it hits the register then I'm no better than if the school board, for example, thought it should have a say in what I do with my pay once I receive it.

Sound strange? Limiting? That's because it is!

I don't want to dig too deep into the same-sex marriage issue here, because it's a touchy subject in light of the overturning of Proposition 8. I don't think that fight is over quite yet, and it will go to the highest court in the United States before it's settled. In that case, there will be even more of this same Target-like mess. This article is interesting as it presents the case as it was argued at trial.

Here's my main point, I think: does anyone other than me wonder if going online and saying "hey, Target is anti-gay, I'm going to shop there more!" do any good? Do we really need a vehicle to spout something so hateful? Religious convictions aside, aren't those in homosexual relationships or with homosexual desires people, too? Don't they, like anyone else in this country deserve an equal life with the same rights and privileges? I fully respect anyone's religious leanings, even if they differ from mine. If you don't want gay couples to get married in your church because that's not what your faith practices, fine by me. But I don't see a point in denying any couple the right to commit themselves to each other for the purpose of monogamy and building a family, where my definition of family is a stable home where love is present.

The catchy phrase on facebook as it pertains to this issue is "vote with your money", and while that makes sense, it isn't compassionate. It isn't full of love or mercy or grace, things that I believe in wholeheartedly. Where do I stand with Target? I will keep shopping there because I like it, or because it runs a decent deal on the products we use in our home. Had Target funneled money directly into any organization that exclusively dished out hateful propaganda against people of any minority, that would be a different issue. I don't presume to tell Target how to spend its money or how to vote.

Overall, I think this post stems more out my shock in the response to Target's actions than in the actions themselves. So many people online are saying that America now loves Target because of its actions against gays, and is encouraging the company to "stick to its guns" and "not back down because of liberal bullying" and I'm appalled at these statements. My reaction is not in light of Target's spending, but because so many people are using what Target has done for the wrong reason.

Target is not the first business to have this problem on its hands. The Home Depot has come under fire for the same thing in reverse, as how it donates to organizations that support equal rights for gays and the rest of the LGBTIQ community. So then you have people saying "hey, Home Depot is pro-gay, I'm not shopping there anymore!". That's no better, people. Not one bit.

We are SO fortunate to live in a country where we have the freedom to choose which home improvement, grocery or big-box store to shop in, and I'm grateful for that. In that way, I guess we all vote with our money every day/week/etc. But why do we feel the urge to judge other people's decisions instead of making our own and sticking by them? Why do we so desperately need a vehicle for our beliefs instead of just exercising them when we can?

Ok, I feel better now that I've written it out as a means to explore my ideas. What are you guys thinking? I'm trying to present this as a judgment free zone, so speak away!

1 comment:

Stephanie McCabe said...

loved this post and how you brought all your thoughts out! i was just thinking today that one of my biggest pet peeves is the continual marking of a person as homosexual or makes me sick, actually. i'll leave you with an almost-quote from bill mahr (who i used to love but can't watch anymore): we wouldn't have all these problems in america if we just treated each other nice.

gee...sounds like something i might have learned in kindergarten!