Northwest gun rights activists looking for a way to get the attention of politicians might follow the lead of Howard Schultz, CEO of the Seattle-based Starbucks Coffee, which last year stood up to anti-gun demagoguery by not barring armed customers from its shops around the country.
This column reported that controversy here, here and here.
Schultz’ suggestion to fellow business leaders to stop contributing to politicians is probably hitting a raw nerve in the political world, where contributions are the life’s blood of campaigns. But it may play a sweet chord among gun owners who reflexively distrust politicians, especially those who have voted for gun control measures.
Schultz also says it is time to overcome fear of the current economic melt-down by getting out and spending more money. That may be easier to say than do, since Schultz has lots of money and – thanks largely to an economy that cannot be blamed on Bush – people who buy a daily cup of java from his shops probably do not.
“I am asking that all of us forego political contributions until the Congress and the President return to Washington and deliver a fiscally disciplined long-term debt and deficit plan to the American people,” Schultz wrote in an e-mail sent to business leaders last week.—Seattle P-I.com
Starbucks made big news early in 2010 when Paul Helmke, then president of the Brady Campaign, ramped up the rhetoric over people who open carry into Starbucks shops. Responding to the Pavlovian stimulation, Washington CeaseFire – based in the same city as Starbucks – began echoing Helmke’s hysteria to the point of picketing a Starbucks stockholders meeting.
The campaign fell flat on its political face when gun owners, encouraged to find what appeared to be a friend in Seattle’s corporate world, began turning out in numbers at coffee shops all over the landscape. They were, perhaps in a small way, at least partly responsible for the company’s increase in reported earnings. You can bet that had Starbucks’ profits dropped, the Brady Campaign and CeaseFire would be claiming credit.
He also wants companies to override their fear and start spending the cash they’re sitting on. Starbucks had $1.7 billion in July, up from $1.2 billion when its fiscal year ended nine months earlier.—Seattle Times
That Schultz should pick this moment to close his wallet to politicians probably means very little, but for those who read this morning’s on-line Seattle P-I.com, one might understand the frustration of a successful businessman who reads about Seattle’s green jobs boondoggle. The city got millions of dollars to create a couple of thousand jobs to fix up hundreds of homes, and the program, according to the headline, has been “a bust.” That program was the brainchild of an administration that has been none-too-friendly to gun owners.
The firearms community seems more inclined to spend its money on shooting supplies and coffee than some politician who may ultimately vote against their gun rights. It may be time for politicians to reassess their views on gun rights, and how energetically they express those views.
There are people who “support the Second Amendment…but,” and there are people who “support the Second Amendment and the right to hunt,” and then there are people who simply abhor the Second Amendment. Finding the rare politician who “live” the Second Amendment by defending gun rights and refusing to buckle under to social bigotry is occasionally a challenge.
When such a politician is discovered, treat him or her to a cup of coffee.
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