Bad For Business

I’m not giving Gov. Nikki Haley and South Carolina Republicans any Profiles In Courage awards for their about-face on the Confederate flag: clearly they heard from business leaders in the state, who gave them their marching orders. I can almost hear the conversation now: “Do not make us the next Indiana!”

Ditto Walmart, which announced it will no longer sell Confederate flag merchandise, and Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn: nobody wants to be the target of boycotts. The Confederate flag has had its last stand, so to speak.

It’s amazing to me that this is what it took, though. The brutal slaughter of nine innocent people in their church, targeted for no reason other than their skin color. That it took something this heinous to finally get Southern stalwarts to see the light just makes me hurt for humanity.

I also think the Confederate flag has been a comparatively easy response for us. When tragedy strikes, Americans want to do something, and removing a symbol of hate from the public square is both easy and a no-brainer. Dealing with more pernicious issues like gun violence or the racism that is deeply embedded in American culture? Not so easy.

President Obama told Marc Maron that Congress’ inaction after Sandy Hook “disgusted” him. It disgusted a lot of us.

He said of gun control efforts post-Charleston:

I don’t foresee any legislative action being taken in this Congress, and I don’t foresee any real action being taken until the American public feels a sufficient sense of urgency and they say to themselves, ‘This is not normal.'”

I agree with the President. He’s absolutely right. Removing a symbol of hate from the public square is the easy response. Dealing with gun laws? Much harder. And as a commenter recently pointed out, if gunning down some little kids in their school classrooms didn’t shock us into action, nothing will.

Guns are going to have to be bad for business, the way the Confederate flag is bad for business, before anyone in Congress decides the NRA needs to go the way of the Stars and Bars. And make no mistake: the event that sparks that profile in courage will be truly horrific. We’ve had mass shootings at a movie theater, shopping mall, grocery store, fast food restaurants, you name it. None of that has ginned up sufficient shock and outrage to stop the flood of guns into public life.

But that day will come, it always does. And it will be truly awful, in a way these things are always truly awful. America’s gun lunacy isn’t going to fade gently into that good night. No, it’s going to have to be stomped out, not just in anger and outrage — lord knows we’ve had plenty of that — but by corporate CEOs and Chamber of Commerce types, who finally realize that a populace too afraid to leave their homes is bad for business.


Filed under gun control, racism

15 responses to “Bad For Business

  1. Joe

    Your post reminded me that I meant to send an email about not purchasing South Carolina peaches this past Saturday. I found the South Carolina Peace Council’s website and sent this note to them. It’s imperative that we let businesses know we’re making the choices we are and allow them to apply the appropriate pressure.

    My wife and I this weekend went shopping at our historic Findlay Market here in Cincinnati. Looking to buy some peaches, one booth had some from South Carolina that looked to be an excellent choice. We decided not to purchase them as long as your state continues to fly the confederate flag at your state capitol. Until such time, we will forgo buying any delicious South Carolina peaches this season. Perhaps your state legislators may want to know that folks around the country find the flag’s prominence abhorrent.

  2. … but by corporate CEOs and Chamber of Commerce types, who finally realize that a populace too afraid to leave their homes is bad for business.

    So it should be some manner of leadership that should ultimately take the step. Sure, but then we also know that they jump whichever way the electorate tells them. Chicken and egg.

    What if there were an American think tank that had NO self interests or agendas other than the greater good, and possessed the humility to learn from other nations’ experiences, and with no more mandate but this, considered fabricating a new social contract for Americans? Is this utterly ludicrous, or is there some manner of social group who would rise to such a hypothetical exercise, a national discourse on ‘what ifs’ to reconsider the American Experiment?

    I don’t know of any, but I’d suggest that negotiating with boneheads has been a non-starter, as has been evidenced from the very inception of America, when reasonable men like Thomas Jefferson tried to negotiate a social contract with slave owners, and other manners of snakes, weasels, and carpetbaggers. Keep in mind that one of the most important forgers of America eventually came to state:
    If we can but prevent the government from wasting the labours of the people, under the pretence of taking care of them, they must become happy.

    I’d argue that his effort had been waylayed and that it should be time to renew his original intent.

    Please forgive me if I sound like a naive fool, but I KNOW that the effort it will take to get America to grow up will need to be profound.

  3. Shutter

    Guns stomped out? In who’s lifetime? Not mine, not yours not my grandchildrens. American men would rather cut their balls off with a rusty razor blade than give up their guns.

    • The kind of men who are that terrified of giving up their guns will need a microscope to do anything to their balls. It’s the minuscule size of their equipment that makes them so wedded to their guns in the first place. Men who are confident in their masculinity don’t need genital substitutes to make up for their inadequacy.

  4. “I agree with the President. He’s absolutely right. Removing a symbol of hate from the public square is the easy response. Dealing with gun laws? Much harder.”

    When one considers that a major reason WHY we have the 2nd Amendment was to allow irate Suthin’ Genulmen the means to reacquire their done-walked-off propitty (and make sure that there were no “SLAVE rebellions” like those in Haiti, then we can see why they like BOTH the Flag of Southern Treachery and allathem fuckin’ gunz!

    • I don’t think that’s really correct. We have the second amendment because the founding fathers thought a standing army was an existential threat to liberty. As an alternative, they wanted a citizen militia, since voting citizens would presumably be uninterested in overthrowing their democratic government in favor of a tyranny. The 2nd amendment was designed to protect that militia from federal interference. There’s no particular reason to think it was intended to protect individuals’ right to own weapons, District of Columbia v. Heller notwithstanding.

      • Good points, Roger.

        Now perhaps there has been a post-mortem on the original assumptions, one that would permit us to reconsider the mechanisms employed. For example, has there been an existential threat to liberty, requiring a citizen militia? Has America’s (massive) standing army been a genuine threat to democracy? And of the implicit assumption that a federal government (and the interference) wasn’t put their for the greater good of Americans, but instead should be eyed as a necessary evil (seeming true to this day), how has this played out in the public’s eye?

        Has there been critical review of these and any other original assumptions to consider the veracity of them? Furthermore, if those assumptions haven’t been particularly relevant, or worse, flatly untrue, has any government promoted ongoing (new) strategies to address the actual problems that have manifest themselves since?

      • Not to argue the fine points, but there’s a reason that it had to be added to the original document. According to numerous things I’ve read over the last several years the southern states pretty much demanded the addition. If you need chapter and verse I’ll have to go look for the source when I’m on line sometime in the next few days.
        I have never been confused about the gunzloonz irrationality re: The Sacred 2nd.

  5. The Walmart case I will be interested in. It boils down to who they can afford to piss off more: poor white trash neoconfederates or poor blacks and other ethnic minorities. Those two groups are pretty much their customer base, and as much as some of those neoconfederates are already whining they won’t shop there in light of this, let’s be honest, what other options would they have? The local dollar store? Maybe given that Walmart did great in eliminating any other stores, especially in small rural towns.

  6. GregH

    Why do you have a 2nd Amendment? Because Article IX of the Articles of Confederation was such a bloody confusing mess and saddled the Congress & States with the expense of arming and clothing any militia they raised. Much easier and more practical to let militiamen bring their own weapons to muster.

  7. Mary Hackett Graham

    So did the NRA push to tear down the flag? Sure has taken the focus away from guns at least for the last news cycle.

    • It was the easy thing to do. When all the easy things are done, then we’ll do the hard thing.

    • ALSO I think it was a visual image. It was the picture of that shithead waving his Confederate flag and burning the American one. There’s no visual image associated with guns. If they showed pictures of the inside of that church after the shooting — the pools of blood, the bodies, the blood splattered walls — the NRA would be finished.

      And that day will come. There will be another mass shooting at a mall or some other public place. Someone will be there with their cell phone and they’ll post it on YouTube. We’ll see it, it’s guaranteed. And THEN when we have that visual image we’ll be able to finally say enough.

      It just really sucks that this is what it’s going to take. But we are a visual species.

      • Joe

        I’ve long thought that lawmakers who stand shoulder to shoulder with the NRA should be required to look at full autopsy reports after massacres like this, starting first with Sandy Hook and go back and forth to each and everyone of these rampages perpetuated by people with easily gotten guns.

      • Okay I stand corrected. HBO is running an amazing documentary now called “Requiem for the Dead: American Spring 2014.” It’s a look at some of the stories behind the whopping 8,000 gun deaths in the spring of 2014. It’s absolutely riveting.