People in the rest of the country have been making a big mistake about people in the state of Georgia for a long, long time, going back at least to the days of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Perhaps you’ve heard of him. He was elected president of the United States four times. His Little White House in Warm Springs is where he died in April of 1945, near the end of World War II. Perhaps that’s why he thought Georgia voters would pay attention to what he thought.
Roosevelt made a famous speech in Barnesville in August of 1938 in which he openly campaigned against a sitting Georgia senator named Walter F. George. George didn’t like FDR’s New Deal because he feared it gave the government too much power over the people and set in place social welfare programs that, once established, could never be reeled back in. Roosevelt told Georgians to go to the polls and vote for Lawrence Camp, an FDR puppet who supported the New Deal and everything else the president proposed.
Oh, yes. I forgot to mention that Senator George was sitting right behind the president when he made his ill-timed speech.
It didn’t work. In fact, it had just the opposite effect of what FDR intended. The people of Georgia re-elected Walter F. George in a landslide and FDR’s margins of victory in Georgia dropped significantly in his third and fourth terms. The decline in popularity was contributed by political pundits and historians directly to the “Barnesville Mistake.”
Let him who has ears hear.
Now everybody who knows me knows that I am a Disney guy. I grew up watching the “Mickey Mouse Club” on our black-and-white television and fantasizing about Annette Funicello, just like most of the boys of my generation. I had a coon-skin cap and knew every verse to “The Ballad of Davy Crockett.” I dreamed of one day going to Disneyland and seeing Snow White’s castle with my own eyes, but never in a million years thought those dreams would come true.
When Walt Disney brought his magic to Florida and I got to go to Walt Disney World and see Cinderella’s castle in person, I cried real tears. I was 20 years old.
I raised my kids on Disney movies, and we vacationed at the theme parks as often as we could. We still do. I still sit down and watch Disney animation with my grandson, Sir Henley, the Adorable. I own Disney stock. I own a considerable amount of Disney stock.
But last week, Robert Iger, CEO of the Disney Corporation, made a huge mistake, a mistake people have been making going back to FDR. He made the mistake of thinking that the people of Georgia will kowtow to him and his opinions.
He decided to become a part of the growing trend in Hollywood and threatened to stop doing business in Georgia because the state recently passed a bill protecting the rights of unborn children to actually be born, if they could make it to the time their heartbeats could be heard —about six weeks — without being aborted by their mothers.
Iger stated that most of his employees were probably against such a bill and he would have to consider their feelings. But here is the thing.
Robert Iger is a hypocrite of the greatest magnitude. Disney does business all over the world. All over the world. Disney does business in China. China. There is a Disney theme park in Hong Kong, for goodness sakes. Don’t tell me Hong Kong isn’t part of China, you’ll be splitting hairs and missing the point.
Disney, of whom I am a big fan, does business with all kinds of countries involved in all manner of human rights violations — and now he is threatening to boycott a state because he says his employees might not like a law duly passed by its state representatives? I am sure there are laws in every state he could take exception to, but he does business in China.
He is not taking a stance; he is grandstanding — as are all the other Hollywood leftists who are trying to tell us how to conduct our business.
It didn’t work in 1938 and it will not work in 2019 — or 2020.
What Robert Iger and all the others need to understand is that the boycott business works both ways and a lot of people who have been in the habit of watching their TV shows and movies and visiting their theme parks and buying their plush toys, have opinions and dollars to spend, too. And votes to cast.
To paraphrase Rhett Butler, “Frankly, Hollywood and Mr. Iger, we don’t give a damn.”