Scenes From the Shut-up-and-Sing-Sell-Arugula Protest


I just had the world's most delicious Arizona Grille sandwich, complete with chicken, roasted red peppers, and chipotle mayo on a focaccia roll, washed down by some three-dollar carrot juice. It was at my neighborhood supermarket, a Whole Foods, where 10 or so protesters stood outside trying to make people sad and/or angry. On the way in, some shlub in a bright yellow "UFCW for Obama" shirt handed me a flyer with the following claims:

John Mackey is a right wing libertarian. […]

He has just launched a campaign to defeat a single payer national health insurance system. […]

This despite the bottom line reality that single payer is the only way to both control health care costs and cover everyone. […]

And the problem with Mackey's campaign is that it results in the deaths of 60 Americans every day due to lack of health insurance.

Mackey is responsible for these deaths as much as anyone.

After making my purchase with more enthusiasm than usual, I was handed another flyer from some peppy UFCW gals, including the bold-italic question du jour: "Do you really want your shopping dollars going to executives who are undermining President Obama?" One of them asked me (quoting from memory), "Are you aware that Whole Foods CEO John Mackey recently wrote an op-ed attacking national health care?"

"Yes," I replied with a smile. "I read the whole thing." As I walked away one of the gals said, in genuine wonder and disappointment, "Wow…."

More on the pathetic boycott against the only supermarket CEO I'm aware of who advocates ending the Drug War, here and here. I'll just make one observation: The liberal commentariat keeps telling us that we need to have a "serious debate" about reforming our dysfunctional health care system. Well, love 'em or hate 'em, Mackey came up with eight tangible ideas to do just that, and this is the reaction he gets. From people who no doubt treasure their DVDs of Shut Up and Sing.

I wrote about the Dixie Chicks, and the "fair-weather friends" of free speech, in 2004.