When Delta Airlines and Coca-Cola objected to Georgia’s new voter suppression laws, Mitch McConnell said that corporations should stay out of politics … except, of course, they should continue to donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to Republican campaigns. This is, perhaps, the greatest hypocrisy of the 21st century … “give me your money, but don’t tell me what to do”.
Interesting, isn’t it, how the Republican Party, in particular Mitch McConnell, danced for joy in 2010 when the Supreme Court ruled in the case of Citizens United v FEC that corporations are people too and should be allowed to have a voice in politics, to donate to the candidates of their choice (in other words, the ones that will vote for profit over people)?
Now, before you go crediting Delta and Coke with being companies with a heart, understand that they were looking out for their own profits, for in recent years We the People have begun using their purchasing power to make a statement. For example, many of us who support LGBT civil rights, no longer shop at Hobby Lobby or eat at Chick-Fil-A, both of whom have employment policies that discriminate against LGBT people. With the public outrage over states attempting to take away our voting rights, it only makes fiscal sense for companies to speak out against the new Jim Crow laws if they want to keep their customers happy.
But talk is cheap … will they put their money where their mouth is?
From an article in today’s New York Times …
Amazon, BlackRock, Google, Warren Buffett and hundreds of other companies and executives signed on to a new statement released on Wednesday opposing “any discriminatory legislation” that would make it harder for people to vote.
It was the biggest show of solidarity so far by the business community as companies around the country try to navigate the partisan uproar over Republican efforts to enact new election rules in almost every state. Senior Republicans, including former President Donald J. Trump and Senator Mitch McConnell, have called for companies to stay out of politics.
The statement was organized in recent days by Kenneth Chenault, a former chief executive of American Express, and Kenneth Frazier, the chief executive of Merck.
Last month, with only a few big companies voicing opposition to a restrictive new voting law in Georgia, Mr. Chenault and Mr. Frazier led a group of Black executives in calling on companies to get more involved in opposing similar legislation around the country.
Since then, many other companies have voiced support for voting rights. But the new statement, which was also signed by General Motors, Netflix and Starbucks, represented the broadest coalition yet to weigh in on the issue.
“It should be clear that there is overwhelming support in corporate America for the principle of voting rights,” Mr. Chenault said.
Mr. Frazier emphasized that the statement was intended to be nonpartisan, arguing that protecting voting rights should garner support from Republicans and Democrats alike.
“These are not political issues,” he said. “These are the issues that we were taught in civics.”
Coca-Cola and Delta, which condemned the Georgia law after it was passed, declined to add their names, according to people familiar with the matter. Home Depot also declined, even though its co-founder Arthur Blank said in a call with other business executives on Saturday that he supported voting rights. Another Home Depot co-founder, Ken Langone, is a vocal supporter of Mr. Trump.
They talk a good talk, but can they walk the walk? Will they stop donating to the political campaigns of those who would take away our rights to vote, or will they talk out of one side of their mouth, while at the same time talking out of the other side of their wallet?
I have a general mistrust of large corporations, for most are narrowly focused on profit rather than people. Time will tell whether these corporations are acting with conscience or only paying lip service, but if they truly put their money where their mouth is, I will give them a thumbs up.
You can view the statement and signatories here.