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The Los Angeles Times writes that “in the last 12 months, conservative advocacy groups have urged their millions of members to stop buying brand after trusted brand. Boycotts have long been a mainstay of both the right and the left, but analysts say there's a new intensity to the protests as social conservatives test their ability to punish companies for taking liberal stances on issues such as abortion and gay rights.”

Among the companies that have been targeted are Levi Strauss (for donating to Planned Parenthood), Johnson & Johnson (for advertising Tylenol in a gay magazine), Procter & Gamble (for advertising on gay-themed shows like “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” and “Will & Grace”), Ford Motor Co., Allstate Insurance, Nike, and now, American Girl, which is said to have donated money to a nonprofit organization that supports abortion rights.

It is about to get more prevalent. The Times reports that the “Illinois Family Institute, a conservative lobbying group…is considering calling a boycott against Kraft Foods and Walgreens to pressure them to withdraw their support of next summer's Gay Games in Chicago.” And there is concern about the number of major companies – American Express and Anheuser-Busch among them – that are buying commercial time on Logo, the new, Viacom-owned cable channel that is targeted at gay viewers.
KC's View:
Liberals can hardly be outraged by such efforts. After all, it was liberals who were boycotting grapes back in the Cesar Chavez days, trying to influence change in how migrant farm workers were treated in this country.

It’s just that conservative groups are a lot more organized and effective than the liberals.

Boycotts are a fine old American tradition, and even if they weren’t, there would be precious little that anyone could do to stop them.

We have to be honest here, though. Even though we sympathized with the farm workers, and even was fortunate enough to meet Cesar Chavez back in the halcyon seventies, we continued to eat grapes. Call it a moral flaw, but grapes are among our favorite foods.

No matter how we might feel about values issues, we’re not going to stop using our Amex card, or drinking Budweiser, or taking Tylenol, or using P&G products, because they are advertising their products in gay-themed media. The way we figure it – and we know we are going out on a moral limb here – gay people have a right to drink beer, cure their headaches, or ring up big credit card bills just like straight people. And those companies have a right to try and get gay money just like they have a right to get straight money. Last time we checked, it was all green. (Though those new color-tinged twenty dollar bills certainly raise some issues…come to think of it, they look like they might have been designed by the folks from “Queer Eye.” Maybe we should all stop spending hard currency…)

(By the way, now that George Takei, the actor who played Sulu on “Star Trek,” has come out of the closet, does this mean that these folks will be boycotting not just all “Star Trek” TV series, but also all the networks and channels that show them? And will they stop watching professional basketball, now that Sheryl Swoopes of the WNBA has said that she’s gay? Just curious.)

Sure, folks have a right to boycott any and all of these companies and call it sticking up for moral values.

Just as we have a right to suggest that some of the boycotting groups are being just a wee bit intolerant, and perhaps even are guilty of institutional bigotry.

That’s America. Red, white & blue. (But never, apparently, pink.)

So, boycott away. We may disagree with you, but we toast your freedom of self-expression…and do so with a Bud, which we will pay for with our Amex.