Let's say, at the same time, that there's a cafe owned by family friends who take you in when you need something. They offer to help you out. They help you believe that bullies never win and that you can feel safe and protected because they're on your side.
One day, you find out that the owners of the cafe have been inviting your bully over for free meals. You've been terrorized by this bully and his cronies for ages, and suddenly you find that your friends are supporting the bully who has made your life so difficult.
Do you ignore it and pretend the world is safe and secure and not worth worrying about? Do you stop being friends with your friends? Do you find a new cafe to go to to call your own? Do you talk about it with your friends and hope that they'll see your point and stop helping out the bully?
In the past few weeks - as the news has come out that usually very gay-friendly Target Corp and Best Buy (and a few others) have been donating money to a Political Action Committee (PAC) which backs a candidate who aligns himself with people who have gone on record as wanting to "kill all the gays" - I've had to try to figure out what to do about the bully.
On the one hand, Target and Best Buy sponsor a lot of GLBT events and donate to a lot of causes. They're incredibly vocal about their openness in hiring and offering benefits to same-sex partners. And, honestly, they employ a decent number of my friends. They say that they were simply donating to the PAC because it is in favor of programs to help businesses in the state of Minnesota to get ahead. And that they didn't realize that the PAC's favorite candidate was so vehemently anti-gay.
But I have a hard time believing that. Especially when the CEO of Target is a vocal (and fiscal) supporter of some massively right-wing politicians, himself. Politicians who fit right in with the bully-du-jour.
I don't profess to know all of what is going on in this situation, but I do know that a corporation really ought to know what its donations are going to fund. And that no one should be able to say one thing and do the opposite without being called out for it.
So I've posted my complaint on one of Target's message boards (I'd post something at Best Buy, but, honestly, I never shop there, anyway), and I'm going to stay out of their stores for a while, hoping that if enough of us take our money elsewhere they might get the point. And, hopefully, the bully in question will be defeated in the primaries in a couple of weeks and all of this will simply slide away as a lesson learned for Target. And I'll be able to go back to shopping among friends, again.
Otherwise, until I hear a really good apology, I guess I'll be spending a lot of time and money in non-Target establishments.
**For a starting point on reading up on this issue, if you're so inclined, you might start here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/07/28/tom-emmer-anti-gay-pol-ge_n_662535.html