“Somethings take so long, but how do I explain?
When not too many people
Can see we’re all the same
And because of all their tears
Their eyes can’t hope to see
The beauty that surrounds them, oh
Isn’t it a pity?” — George Harrison
There can be no greater separation between whatever we call progressives and whatever we call conservatives than the feelings about billion dollar corporations. Conservatives fought to give those corporations rights to free speech where progressives normally view those corporations with some level of skepticism or scorn. At the very least, there is a constant battle to get those corporations to pay their fair share in taxes.
This is why the battle over Disney is such a unique battle. No single quote has had a greater impact on the past forty years of politics than Ronald Reagan’s quote from his first inaugural address. “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” No other line quite captures the sentiment of conservatism. That quote gets magnified when we deal with corporations the size of Disney.
Disney has been given all kinds of perks and favors over the years. The idea is that Disney creates more for the economy and stimulates more growth than the government ever could. So, the best thing a government can do is take a back seat and let Disney do their thing. Naturally, we will ignore that while Disney is a fine place to visit (our family has been there three times in the past six years) and they have stimulated the economy in general, as an employer their spoils aren’t exactly distributed equitably.
Such is the nature of these things. A good progressive will take the Reagan quote and insert the word corporations for the word government. It’s not that we don’t want them to exist. It’s that we want them to be tempered and regulated so that their excesses can be reined in. We want workers treated fairly. We want consumers to be protected. We want the effects of the greed that happen naturally to be limited.
What gets lost for the current crop of movement conservatives is that corporations have no moral compass. They can’t. As much as Citizens United wants us to believe that they are people we know they are not. They are about pure profit motive. They want to sell my daughter a “pride donut” while also seemingly catering to “family values.” They want all of our money.
So, I’m not sure what Ron Desantis and the other movement conservatives were thinking when they came out against LGTBQ+ individuals. When they passed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill what exactly did they think would happen? Did they think Disney would purposely cut off a sizable portion of it’s customer base? Disney has made its billions by being all things to all people. It can appear to be wholesome and family friendly and also friendly to people of all lifestyle choices. They’ve made their way through that mine field. They are incredibly successful because they have done this.
So, now conservatives are going against their core beliefs. They are punishing a corporation for taking a stand. It puts progressives into the uncomfortable position of supporting a corporation like Disney. In the end, corporations are the same. They are all things to all people. They are signs of the ultimate greed and avarice driving a wedge through our society and environment. They are welcoming to all people because all currency spends the same no matter who it comes from. Corporations can and will be both. They can because they can’t afford not to be. At least the successful ones like Disney can’t.