Op-Ed: Businesses Taking Political Positions Further Divide the Nation

This article originally appeared on Real Clear Politics on April 9, 2021.


In the former Soviet Union, nearly every decision people made -- from their jobs to their hobbies to their clothing -- was politicized. Personal choices that were insufficiently collectivist for Communist Party officials negatively impacted careers, housing, and rations, which were allocated by political pull and socialist virtue-signaling rather than merit. Some decisions, such as starting a small business or storing some extra food, could result in the gulag or a firing squad. The personal was the political.


I am concerned that the U.S. is trending in this direction, where many aspects of life are politicized. Americans are more politically polarized than at any point in my lifetime. The mainstream media, whose business model exploits and fosters division, deserves much of the blame. Yet American companies are on the verge of taking a sledgehammer to the wedge that divides us by increasingly and unnecessarily taking positions on controversial political issues. Speaking out this way threatens to transform their customers' daily decisions -- including what sport to watch, what soda to drink, and what airline to fly -- into political ones.'


Consider the recent actions by certain Georgia-based businesses, including Delta and Coca-Cola, to oppose the state's new law that brings voting practices in line with those in other states. Their statements of opposition generally imply that the law's provisions, including requiring identification to vote, are racist. This is the most highly politicized charge one can make in the country today. Major League Baseball pulled the All-Star Game from Atlanta to show its opposition, stating the move is "the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport."


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