It’s not easy to save face when you’ve come out swinging, very publicly, with everything you’ve got, only to find that you’ve lost the argument because your position was indefensible. One approach would be to “declare victory and go home,” which Senator George Aiken was reported to have said in 1973 as a way to get out of the quagmire of Vietnam, despite the fact that victory was never ours to claim.This, apparently, was the approach chosen by the American Family Association when they decided to call off their three-year boycott of Home Depot for financially supporting gay and lesbian organizations. In a statement, Randy Sharp, AFA’s Director of Special Projects said, “We’re glad to report that we are suspending the boycott of The Home Depot. After monitoring the company for several months, we’re satisfied that the company has withdrawn its major financial contributions to gay activist groups and to their activities. [...] We certainly do expect The Home Depot to deny that they have turned back their contributions to gay activist groups, but AFA has monitored the company – and actions speak louder than words.” So, with a little rhetorical sleight of hand, they anticipated the denial that they somehow knew was sure to come. How could they be so sure of that? Indeed, Home Depot spokesman Stephen Holmes said “We haven’t made any changes to our policies for inclusion and respect of all people, regardless of their sexual orientation. We have not directed our associates to discontinue participation in Pride or other community events, and have no intention of doing so.” By preemptively predicting Home Depot’s denial, AFA has assured credibility among their faithful constituents without disclosing any specific allegations that could be challenged or refuted on a factual basis. The group never mentioned any specific organizations or activities that Home Depot was supporting, nor did they say what actions they were monitoring. Meanwhile, Home Depot continues to support a Pride Network Associate Resource Group and other services aimed at supporting diversity within its workforce. Home Depot has consistently ignored the campaign, which apparently had little impact considering the fact that HD’s stock has nearly tripled over the period in question. According to Holmes, many decisions about their support for various causes and organizations are made at the local level. So it’s possible that the “monitoring” that Randy Sharp spoke of, could have been of one employee at one particular store. It would be nice to think that now that the boycott is over, that these folks would go back to where they came from, but they are still at it, waging war on Planned Parenthood and other supporters of diversity and reproductive rights. AFA, whose self-proclaimed duties include, “promoting the centrality of God in American life" and "promoting the Christian ethic of decency” claims to have 500,000 members. Yet they also claim that 750,000 signed a pledge not to shop at Home Depot. The group has made a career out of aggressively boycotting companies that sponsor TV shows featuring what they call “anti-Christian messages and ideas.” In 2005, they ended a similar boycott against Disney which had also proven ineffective. Maybe it’s time for them to get a life. [Image credit: Gexydaf: Flickr Creative Commons] RP Siegel, PE, is an inventor, consultant and author. He co-wrote the eco-thriller Vapor Trails, the first in a series covering the human side of various sustainability issues including energy, food, and water in an exciting and entertaining romp that is currently being adapted for the big screen. Now available on Kindle. Follow RP Siegel on Twitter.
RP Siegel, author and inventor, shines a powerful light on numerous environmental and technological topics. His work has appeared in Triple Pundit, GreenBiz, Justmeans, CSRWire, Sustainable Brands, Grist, Strategy+Business, Mechanical Engineering, Design News, PolicyInnovations, Social Earth, Environmental Science, 3BL Media, ThomasNet, Huffington Post, Eniday, and engineering.com among others . He is the co-author, with Roger Saillant, of Vapor Trails, an adventure novel that shows climate change from a human perspective. RP is a professional engineer - a prolific inventor with 53 patents and President of Rain Mountain LLC a an independent product development group. RP was the winner of the 2015 Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week blogging competition. Contact: email@example.com