Monday, November 21, 2016

At least one point of optimism

Sure, the election results were terrible, and President Trump, despite receiving an initial benefit of the doubt from some in the mainstream pundit-sphere, seems intent on stocking his administration with the kind of loyalists and sycophants that at best would support a kleptocracy and at worst will be quick to start wars and trample the Constitution.

And then there are the clowns, the white nationalists using this as a signal to climb out from under their rocks (or mother's basements) and start making Nazi salutes. That Trump condemns a broadway show and NOT these deplorables implies he's either oblivious or despicable (and both are bad)

But in a search for a silver lining, one thing I do feel a little comfortable about is that progressive change can still be made. While there won't be any progress from a federal level (there might even be pullback) on issues like equal rights and gun safety -- my hope is that we'll still be able to drive change by leveraging corporate influence.

The federal government may not be on the side of freedom for the next few years -- but powerful examples now serve as a template for driving change.

The nonsense legal attempts by Indiana and North Carolina to restrict the rights of the LGBT community met with swift resistance. But the resistance didn't just come from typical activist groups:

Example 1 - North Carolina

Opponents of North Carolina's HB2 "bathroom bill" - which prevents transgender people from using restrooms that do not match the gender on their birth certificate - are being joined by some very powerful partners.

Former Solicitor General and Prop 8 litigator Theodore B. Olson has authored an amicus brief supporting the Justice Department's effort to block HB2, and 68 major corporations have signed on. These companies include American Airlines, Apple, Cisco, eBay, General Electric, IBM, Intel, LinkedIn, Microsoft, NIKE and Salesforce.

Example 2 - Indiana

A new study from Visit Indy — Indianapolis's convention and tourism organization — found that Indiana lost at least $60 million in revenue after lawmakers there passed the so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which gave businesses the greenlight to discriminate against LGBT people on religious grounds.

In both of these cases, while the state government felt beholden to appease the will of troglodytes and bible-thumpers, they didn't anticipate opponents marshaling corporate resources against them so effectively. Turns out that corporations that need to compete in the modern economy, both for talent in their offices and customers (particularly the ones that have money), look as though they may take an increasingly active role in pushing back against discriminatory and/or bigoted policies.

If some of the particularly nefarious parts of the Bannon/Trump agenda (i.e., Muslim registry) come to pass -- my sincere hope is that while we who would oppose it can't pin our hopes on the official checks and balances within the government -- we can exert enough influence on and from within the business community to block such awfulness.

Because if it comes to a fight over protecting people's rights, we don't have the seats in congress, the supreme court, or the White House. But we do have more money and more shares of stock -- and we'll have to use whatever weapons are at our disposal

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