I have to say, I was “shocked and dismayed” to hear of Target’s $150,000 donation to Minnesota Forward, which, despite its progressive sounding name is a conservative PAC supporting a homophobic, anti-labor candidate.
I hadn’t ever given much thought to Target, to tell you the truth. They’re one of my ‘go-to’ stores and I had vaguely good feelings about them. The CEOs very lame excuse (“pro business”) annoyed me and also seemed really dumb. If American businesses keep screwing labor and annoying gays and lesbians (who, since many of us don’t have kids, often have more disposable income, for what its worth) who is going to be able to – or want to – buy things from them?
So Target ended up, for me at least as an unlikely enemy.
I bought my Target boycott T-shirt and it came the day before the Target CEO wrote an email to his employees apologizing (which is NOT the same as a) rescinding the donation to the right wing jerk the money went to; b) apologizing to gays and Americans who like to be paid fair wages for fair work; or c) donating $150,000 to his opponent, Margaret Andersen Kelliher). So i wondered – he apologized to his staff – do I still wear the t-shirt? That would be yes.
So I wore it today to the vet and then to see my holistic chiropractor and then to Panera in Fox River Grove (not a hotbed community of radical liberalism, she says drolly). While waiting to order my food, the woman in front of me, probably a little older than I am, a bit frumpy, seemed like a ‘soccer grandma’ to spin forward a phrase – someone, I would have thought of as going to a very mainstream church and voting Republican, said “I like your shirt”. Now, it IS colorful (i got the violet one with the big red Target logo with a line across it and the word “Regret” underneath the bullseye logo) and I hesitated. I thought “Poor dear, she probably doesn’t get it” and I said “Well, I believe you have to stand up for what you believe is right.” To which she said “You mean the mess in Minnesota, right? Target supporting that horrible guy?”
We had a nice chat. She told me “if you think Target is bad – Wal-Mart is worse!” I told her, yeah, probably the worst labor practices around and had she read Barbara Ehrenrich’s book Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America. She had not. But we had a good chat and then it was time to get our food.
So once again I had that old Harry Nillsson song in my head “You never really know who your friends are.” Or your enemies.
And I got to learn, for, oh, the ten thousandth time, that people, institutions and life are not always what they seem.
How about you? Have you had experiences of finding out that your supposed friends (I know I used a company as an example, but haven’t we all been burned by those we love or considered friends?). What about your judgements of others – especially strangers? Have you (like I did) let people’s look, clothes, or affect form an impression that was just dead wrong?