Eight Georgia state representatives have declared their offices Coke-free zones and have requested that all Coke products (there’s a lot more than you think) should be removed from their office suites because Coke has come out against Georgia’s voting legislation.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott declined an invitation to throw out the first pitch at the Rangers home opener after Commissioner Rob Manfred announced that the All-Star Game would be moved out of Atlanta this summer. Abbott also said that no city in Texas would seek to host the All-Star Game or any other MLB special event. (The Rangers are a likely venue for the All-Star game considering their new wareho…baseball palace built just outside Dallas.)
Republican Senators Mike Lee of Utah and Ted Cruz of Texas have called for the revocation of Major League Baseball’s antitrust exemption because of the All-Star move. Cruz went so far as to post a list of MLB official sponsors, asking if they all hate the 75 million people who voted for Donald Trump.
To the best of my knowledge, no one has called for air traffic controllers to stop routing Delta flights after they criticized the new voting laws, but the week’s still young yet. But the Georgia state house voted to eliminate Delta’s $35 million jet-fuel tax break–it’s unlikely to become law soon. A similar tax break was removed after Delta stopped offering NRA members a discount, but it was quietly added back later.
The high irony of this is that Democrats were getting ready to boycott MLB, Coke, Delta, and other companies if they didn’t come out against the laws, and several have called for those companies to move their corporate headquarters (’cause that’s something you can do in the space of a week).
These companies didn’t act in a vacuum. Had MLB not acted, there’s a decent chance the All-Star Game could’ve been boycotted by its own players–a public relations nightmare no sane organization would want. And Delta, Coke, and the rest have to consider their employees and customer base.
In short, these companies can’t win. Either they hate (Senator Cruz’s words) every single person who voted against Trump, or they hate every single person who’s not a straight white Christian male.
In a free society, you get to disagree with the government. And while state legislators are free to stock their offices with what they want (mine stocked the fridge with beer and got after me if it didn’t get used quickly enough), state governments and the federal government shouldn’t be using their legislative powers to extort companies into supporting their legislative agenda.
Can you imaging the howling out of Ted Cruz and Mike Lee if Chuck Schumer threatened MLB’s antitrust exemption because they didn’t cut back enough on air travel (which contributes to climate change)? You wouldn’t need FOX News to hear them; you could just open the window.
We’re moving far past the time when you can have a legitimate disagreement without having to pay because a segment of society doesn’t like your stance. The difference is, the Democrats are massing on Twitter for a boycott, while Republicans are using the government to coerce companies away from wrong thinking, which will be punished, to right thinking, which will be rewarded.
One of those approaches is chillingly Orwellian.