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I think I am being a hypocrite, but may be not??


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Last year I had a big debate with my husband and my Dad (they were on the same side) whether one should continue patronizing a business if its CEO supported causes they were against. I said that to me it really wouldn't matter. Well....the owner of the local bookstore was in a commercial for a political candidate that is on the opposite side of where I am.  

I know I don't have to explain how I feel about bookstores in general and especially about local ones. But argghhhhh!!!! Now I am not sure if I can go to that bookstore.....

I know it's first world's problem, but still, right??

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Honestly, it doesn't bother me. I figure that politics and personal values of another individual aren't my concern. I make a practice of buying from small local businesses as much as possible out of principle, but again, my choice. 

If it bothers you, don't do it. 

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It’s ok to change your mind.  You can say, “things have changed, I understand your point of view now,” and people will be ok.

its hypocritical to argue that it’s OK for you to do something that you also argue against.  

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Well, maybe you didn’t think it would matter to you when it was a hypothetical, but now you’re finding that it does matter.  It’s ok to change.
 

Though if this is a local bookstore that you like, and frequent ... I’d probably think twice.  Local bookstores are gems!

 

Personally, I have many, many friends IRL who are on the opposite side, and I can (generally, I’m talking about real friends, not passing acquaintances) get past it.  Some have been in politics, even. I wouldn’t boycott their businesses.  But I also admit freely that we avoid products and national chains when they are doing something that clearly is in opposition to my conscience.

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I wonder about that sometimes too.  But probably you'll find someone high up in so many businesses you support who is voting for the other candidate.  For example, there are probably major airline CEO's that have contributed to the "other" campaign.  Will you not fly those airlines anymore?

I agree that it's harder when it's local, but even then, I want to support local businesses unless I believe they are truly immoral.  I know that term is subjective.  For me, a differing political view would likely be okay, but -- for example, if they are blatantly racist, it would not be okay.

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See, to me the big difference is a CEO of a public company vs personal views of a small business owner.

Like if CEO of XYZ corporation was a supporter of X candidate, that's one thing, bc it won't have any effect on the products corporation makes / sells. But small book store owner?

Well, we are not going to book stores right now, so I guess I have time to decide

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Just now, SereneHome said:

See, to me the big difference is a CEO of a public company vs personal views of a small business owner.

Like if CEO of XYZ corporation was a supporter of X candidate, that's one thing, bc it won't have any effect on the products corporation makes / sells. But small book store owner?

Well, we are not going to book stores right now, so I guess I have time to decide

Hmmmm, well, are you planning to buy political books? I mostly buy kids’ books.

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Well, if I refused to shop at any business that I didn't agree with politically, I wouldn't be shopping very much at all.  Now, my views definitely lean one way, but I am not really on board with any party and there are very few politicians (if any) that I would be able to support wholeheartedly.  I don't think that I've ever boycotted a business or company because of what someone there believes, although there are businesses that I don't shop at because of what they sell.

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I think there is a difference between "hypocritical" (saying one thing, then secretly doing the opposite, while maintaining the pretense) and other things like "reconsidering" or "finding nuance" or "feeling undecided".

To me, it seems like you just "found a nuance" in that you react differently towards known-local-shop-owner than you do towards big-billionaire-corporate-CEO. And I think it's fine to ask yourself why your gut feel has just told you that you see a difference there, and whether it's legitimate difference, and how you would describe the main point of differentiation. You might find that there is a difference to you: ("I care when my patronage is a significant factor in keeping someone profitable, but not when my decisions are just a drop in the bucket." -or- "I don't worry much over how I obtain day-to-day household needs, but I evaluate optional luxuries more strictly." -or- "I don't mind that business owners vote or even donate their own way, but public campaigning/advertising is an activity that I think calls for me to take a side financially." -- or something else.) Or you might find that your feel for CEOs needs to influence your local choices. Or you might find that your feel for local shop owners needs to influence your CEO choices. (Those would be changing your mind.)

I don't think you need to instantly homogenize your responses to all business owners and officers in order to simply be consistent. Consistency is not the highest ethical value. A lot of things are nuanced, prioritized, and shift with various factors like these. And you are also allowed to mull your position for years, if you like, and you can change sides any time you want to. That's called growing: it's not the same as being hypocritical.

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Yes, if you continue to hold that position but make an exception for the store especially want to shop at, you're being hypocritical. If you've changed your position then you're not.

Also, I don't think people who do hold that position think through the fact that plenty of people who rely on those companies for their livelihoods don't hold the same positions as the CEOs, but they'll be the ones feeling the moralistic boycotts the most acutely if businesses feel the economic pinch.  And even if they did, what exactly is a moral way to say, "I don't like your political views, so I'm going to try and impact your livelihood negatively."  And how on earth could anyone be consistent anyway? If you're not being consistent you're attempting to punish some people, but not others for the same type of thing.  As complex as supply chains and manufacturing processes of ingredients are for the products and services of any business, I doubt it's at all possible to be consistent. Justice is equitable, not selective.

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Are you being hypocritical, no, as others have said, you can change your mind on issues. 

I also try to decide how strongly I feel about a particular issue. Someone who votes for the opposite side - probably not. Someone who skirts the law to support one of their projects - not directly tied to their business - yeah, I will avoid that business. (Some of you can probably figure that one out). 
 

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Does the alternative bookstore that would get your business if you boycott the local one share your political views? If you are taking your business elsewhere, you should know the position of the business receiving your money.  Sometimes you really do have to choose from the lesser of two evils.

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Honestly, I just don't understand why any business would publicly support any political candidate.  My husband and I were just discussing this.  Obviously they may have views, but why attach it to a business???    

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1 hour ago, ZiMom said:

Honestly, I just don't understand why any business would publicly support any political candidate.  My husband and I were just discussing this.  Obviously they may have views, but why attach it to a business???    

I agree, it doesn't seem like the best for the profit margins to make about 50% of your customers angry, no matter which side of the political spectrum you fall. 

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6 hours ago, SereneHome said:

Well....the owner of the local bookstore was in a commercial for a political candidate that is on the opposite side of where I am.  

I'm mostly with bolt on this one, but your statement is quite broad. Opposite side generically is not enough for me to break ranks. I would need it to be something like espousing a specific policy or saying something really objectionable. Or the person they are supporting in the commercial is really appalling. 

In other words, there are years where this is unlikely to even be a thing and years when it's going to be everywhere. Sigh.

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I don't think I'd boycott over general support of a candidate, because honestly, every candidate's platform is a mixed bag.  However, I would be more likely to boycott over a specific issue that I cared a lot about, especially if they were using their profits / community status to encourage things I consider very wrong.

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1 hour ago, ZiMom said:

Honestly, I just don't understand why any business would publicly support any political candidate.  My husband and I were just discussing this.  Obviously they may have views, but why attach it to a business???    

Tax policies, minimum wage, domestic economic policy, international trade tariffs, business regulation, etc.

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50 minutes ago, AmandaVT said:

I agree, it doesn't seem like the best for the profit margins to make about 50% of your customers angry, no matter which side of the political spectrum you fall. 

Maybe some people don't think their profit margins are everything.

More cynically, they may be hoping to get extra business from the people who support them, plus continuing business from the apathetic.

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It’s totally ok to change your mind, of course. 
I’m fine with businesses supporting a candidate I don’t like, if they are respectful, as in campaigning for their person instead of bashing mine. What I can’t take is when a business insults people who support a particular candidate. I’m looking at you, Bill Penzey. I wasn’t a supporter of his hated candidate but he was so mean to HIS CUSTOMERS who voted for the candidate that I stopped buying from them.  (I didn’t even vote for the guy, but he was so insulting that I just couldn’t buy from him anymore.)  It was hard at first- I went to Penzey’s monthly, at least.  
‘Hope you can sort it out in your brain- choosing between supporting a small business and disagreeing him about the commercial is probably tricky. 

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Hypocrisy and... reprioritizing aren’t the same thing. Though sometime they tangle.

There are two places I WILL NOT eat and one place I WILL NOT shop.  Do I think all other places match my personal ethics? Absolutely not. Does that mean I should go to those three places then? Absolutely not.

Dh had to do some work for a company owned by atrocious political figure. Did he and I hate the idea? Yes. Was it worth losing our household income? No.

We all compromise within specific circumstances.

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I think there’s a difference between supporting a business where the business owner has opposing political views and supporting a business that’s part of a political ad in support of those opposing views.  Basically I don’t mind if you believe what you believe quietly but if you are part of a campaign you’re forcing me to face up to the fact that you’re on the opposite team then maybe I do.  
 

it would also depend a lot on the issue.  some issues I don’t agree about but they’re in the no big deal category.  Others are in the “line that shall never be crossed” category.

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Where I live, if I only patronized businesses whose owners shared my political views, I would be incredibly limited in where I could do business.  It's an area I've given up on.  I feel slightly guilty about it, but I also enjoy eating at restaurants and shopping in stores.  

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I would only make that decision, if I was willing to some basic research and make the same decision on the alternate choice. I don't mean you should have to spend hours to find out the views of the other book store. Just what they put on their public social media or advertising. 

So, if the business owner supports candidate A....then how does the alternate bookstore vote? Does it matter that it was the owner vs CEO? Or a seller on Amazon, or ???.... What employee rank do you draw the line at? Very often, employees make as much as the owner. Not all owners are rich. Does the political opinion of a manager matter? How about the person who is non-political. What if they don't vote at all? 

Also, why does the bookstore support that candidate? Maybe there are reasons for their support that you don't have to make decisions about. A common one from a few years ago was Obamacare. For a small business owner, the idea of being able to buy health insurance at a group rate was a huge deal!!! Even if a person didn't like Obama's policies, that alone may have been enough to make them choose him in an election. For someone who doesn't own a business and always had employer sponsored healthcare, it could have been a minor issue. 

Yes, in your example it does make you a hypocrite. What you do with the knowledge you have, is what makes it ethical. 

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Instead of only focusing on what would happen to the guy at the top if your boycott works, ask yourself what exactly it would mean for the people at the bottom if your boycott works. As horrible as 3rd world sweatshops are, usually the only alternative work is the sex trade. For people working in bookstores, odds are it would mean finding another minimum wage job now when it's harder to find work with so many unemployed people. Wages are stagnant. Rents and housing prices are increasing.  The cost of medical insurance is skyrocketing.  The cost of a college education is incredibly high. Are you sure what's going on politically with the owner/CEO of the company is really worth punishing the employees who likely have dependents? If you were a lower wage worker would you want to be let go because of your or your boss' political views in today's economic environment?  Most low wage workers are struggling to make ends meet; a gap in employment could be ruinous.  I live in a state famous for making it incredibly difficult to collect on unemployment. If you think it's worth it, then go ahead, but don't have any illusions about potential consequences.

This is why idealists shouldn't make decisions about things without running it past a realist first.  Too many won't think it through in real life, practical terms.

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