The silence of the brands

Rob Maharry

If the last few weeks have been any indication, the next four to eight years will just be one extended protest/self-righteous awards show speech/meme war on social media. As the old saying goes, the personal is political, and it’s safe to say that almost everything is political at this point.
By now, you probably have a strong opinion one way or the other on President Trump’s Muslim ban travel restriction, and I’m not here to attempt to change it. If we’ve learned anything in the last year and a half, it’s that nobody cares what the media has to say anyway (except for Donald Trump. He actually follows all of the outlets he hates obsessively and dies a little inside every time they write something negative about him, but I digress).
But one thing that the actions of Trump and Obama should teach anyone who at least purports to concern themselves with the principles of limited government, checks and balances and the Constitution is that both your ally and your enemy will use unbridled executive power to undermine the system that was put in place to protect the dissenting minority. One of the most common criticisms of Obama is that because of Congress’s unwillingness to compromise with him on pretty much anything, he ruled by fiat and used executive orders to circumvent the legislative process, though a quick fact check shows that both George W. Bush and Bill Clinton issued more EO’s than Obama did.
Like clockwork, now that Trump is the one issuing the orders, it’s liberals who are up in arms about constitutionality, wrapping themselves in American flags and staging the (unarmed, completely nonviolent and inclusive of all races, creeds and gender identities) #Resistance, and the conservatives who were so used to crying “executive overreach!” are just kind of shrugging their shoulders and looking the other way.
No one really cares much about the means as long as the ends are achieved, and nowhere is that concept more true than in modern American politics. To Trump’s credit, he never really expressed much reverence for the inner workings of governance: in fact, he was quite open about his disdain for the process and desire to achieve his goals regardless of the legal roadblocks that may arise. But the idea that a president can make major policy decisions unilaterally should scare all of us, regardless of which party he represents.
Another bizarre development in the saga was that the new liberal moral compass, Buzzfeed (fresh off of publishing the completely unverified Trump “golden shower” dossier), engaged in a corporate witch hunt, e-mailing pretty much every major brand in America to get them on the record as to whether they support or oppose the new president’s initiatives, even accusing those who didn’t respond of tacitly supporting bigotry, xenophobia and whatever other social justice buzzword is cool this week.
Of course, conservatives got involved in the madness too when Starbucks announced that it would hire refugees across the country, sparking the #BoycottStarbucks movement, which feels like the fifth or sixth time that they’ve boycotted the company over something stupid (remember those red cups that that viral Facebook preacher was mad about?), and further stoking the flames of the insane culture war that will probably never end.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t need confirmation that every employee of every McDonald’s in America completely shares my worldview before I order one of their cheeseburgers. I don’t need to verify a car dealership’s stance on gay marriage before I buy a new ride. I couldn’t care less about how my plumber or my electrician feels about illegal immigration as long as they do the job in a timely and satisfactory matter.
People are free to spend their money however they wish, but this push for ideologically pure shopping, on both the left and the right, is just downright dumb. As liberals have famously argued, corporations are not people, and the individuals working for these corporations are capable of holding wildly different views while still managing to do their jobs competently and co-exist without spontaneously combusting. It’s actually quite possible, and it happens every day.
So if you’re going to boycott a brand, that’s your right. But me, I’m going to enjoy a spicy chicken sandwich from Chick-Fil-A while drinking a Starbucks mocha latte, pulling up Google on my phone and sitting in my new chair from Menard’s.
Maybe the big game this weekend will take all of our minds off of all of the strife in the country for a few hours and get us back to focusing on what’s important: getting to see grown men destroy their bodies and brains while watching outrageously expensive advertisements for products we don’t really need.
But then again, I did hear that Tom Brady is friends with Trump. And how can I confirm that every single advertiser and sponsor agrees with me completely? Oh, never mind, there is no escape. 
“No matter how corrupt, greedy, and heartless our government, our corporations, our media, and our religious & charitable institutions may become, the music will still be wonderful.”- Kurt Vonnegut

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