Most Democrat legislators I know are extremely comfortable introducing a plethora of bills designed to intrude on the daily lives of Californians and California businesses. They have no trouble letting the government tell you what to eat, warn you of impending chemical doom or making sure your (or your neighbor’s) dog doesn’t replicate without the blessing of the government.
They also don’t mind over regulating business to the point some would say is driving industry out of our great state. And, if it isn’t enough to stifle business expansion with ever-tightening industrial regulations that seek to protect the populace from every conceivable ill, real or imagined, now one Democrat would also like to tell business where they must spend their advertising dollar.
Senator Ted Lieu is a democrat from the Southbay area. He is a prolific Tweeter who has taken the political correctness thing to an entirely new level. Recently, he has been tweeting about an issue between Lowe’s Home Improvement Centers and a reality-based television show on TLC called, All-American Muslim. The program purports to show the lives of every day, average Muslim-Americans living in Dearborn, Michigan. From the TLC website:
Each episode offers an intimate look at the customs and celebrations, misconceptions and conflicts these families face outside and within their own community.
Controversy arose when Lowe’s, who advertises heavily on nearly every major TV network in America, received communications from “every perspective possible”, including the Florida Family Association. Calling the show a lightning rod for political and societal views, the corporation decided to pull their advertising for the show saying, essentially, they did not want to become embroiled in any debates or discussions regarding Muslims, American or otherwise. Yes, they just wanted to run their business. It should have been as simple as that. It was a business decision.
It Wasn’t that easy, however. The Council on American-Islamic Relations immediately denounced Lowe’s, asking other advertisers to continue to support the show and stand up against “bigotry and hatred in this country”. Even one of the “actors” on the show, upon which the controversy is surrounded, blasted Lowe’s on Facebook and other social media. Factions from both sides of the debate have vigorously defended their stand on the issue.
Enter Senator Ted Lieu.
Lieu began tweeting about this issue almost immediately. First he bashed Lowe’s for pulling their advertising, saying he felt it was wrong. Then he sent a letter to the CEO of Lowe’s callling on him, personally, to stop the “bigotry against Americans who are Muslim.” Lieu apparently felt that was not enough so he has been sending tweets out with the hashtag, #boycottLowes. His latest tweets have stated that he plans to introduce legislation to prevent this kind of bigotry from occurring. In fact, in the letter to CEO Robert Niblock, he threatened both a boycott and legislative action unless Lowe’s apologized. The letter also called Lowe’s actions “profoundly ignorant” and “religious bigotry”.
Apparently, Ted doesn’t feel that business can be trusted to spend their advertising dollars wisely. What he sees as an act of bigotry was, according to Lowe’s, simply a corporation making a business decision for the benefit of the company. Rather than leave it at that, Lieu has now threatened legislative action. Kathy Grimes of the Cal Watchdog political website points out that any legislative action Lieu could take would be largely symbolic, probably taking the form of a Senate Resolution. We certainly hope it does not go farther than that.
Lieu’s grandstanding approach to this issue should not even be allowed to take the form of a resolution because the state senate has more pressing issues to deal with than whether a corporation was politically correct in making, what amounts to, a business decision. We hope that no business entity will ever succumb to the “will” of government when it comes to making business decisions regarding advertising. That would be another step down the slippery slope of socialism that Democrat lawmakers in this state seem to embrace.
We also hope that Lieu will find better things to tweet about with the new year. The state budget remains in peril. Prison realignment is quickly becoming a questionable balancing act for counties ill-equipped to manage such populations. And, as far as business goes, maybe he should get his comrades to take a look at why Waste Connections has decided to move their corporate headquarters from Folsom to Texas. The CEO stated the move was due “in part because the company sees California as a poor place to do business.”
In the meantime, the flap over where Lowe’s spends its advertising dollar will blow over, whether Lieu and the proponents of the so-called reality show like it or not. And, I seriously doubt there will be much impact on Lowe’s bottom line because of their decision. If there is, then they will have to decide for themselves if the call to pull the advertising was worth it. But, again, that is a business decision and one government should keep their noses out of.
Ted, if you want a real glimpse of Muslims living in America, I suggest you follow @MonaShadia, a writer for the LA Times. Her blog, Unveiled: A Muslim Girl in O.C., gives a great perspective on what it is like for Muslims here in California. Her unabridged, tell-it-like-it-is writing may give you a more realistic glimpse of the Muslim experience than a highly edited “reality” show. In any case, good luck with that legislation.