During the opening ceremonies of the Sochi Olympics, a Walmart ad aired featuring former “Dirty Jobs” host, Mike Rowe, as the narrator. The stirring ad’s message was simple, Walmart pledged to help stimulate the U.S. economy by purchasing $250 billion of American made products over the next 10 years.
The idea seems like one that would be commended by the vast majority of the American public, especially those in the manufacturing industry. Not so, for some.
Jobs with Justice, the group that bids itself as the organization “fighting for workers’ rights and an economy that works for everyone,” was none too pleased that the former Dirty Jobs host agreed to lend his voice to an ad made by – gasp! – Walmart.
After the organization called Rowe out on their Facebook page for contributing to the ad, Rowe was hit with a slew of negative comments on his own Facebook page, many accusing him of turning his back “on the little guy.” Rowe’s response was exactly on point, and represents a level of thinking — and acting —that the entire country desperately needs to arrive at.
[T]here’s nothing inherently good about being small, and nothing inherently bad about being big. My foundation supports skilled labor, American manufacturing, entrepreneurial risk, a solid work ethic, and personal responsibility. We reward these qualities wherever we find them, whether they’re in David or Goliath.
The traditional media chimed in as well. Appearing on CNN, Marc Lamont Hill declared the ad a disaster for Rowe, saying “anything that you can think of that’s bad when it comes to work, Walmart is at the center of it. This does not look good.”
So why is it so wrong for Rowe to do this? Hill continued,
He’s wrong because Walmart on the whole still does way more damage from everything from labor to environment etc., than it does [good] through this initiative.
Rowe’s response to Hill was equally compelling.
It’s a hell of a thing when someone you really don’t like suddenly does something that you actually agree with… [Hill] simply can’t address the importance of revitalizing our manufacturing base without reframing the whole conversation into a polemic against the thing he’s been trained to despise. It’s simply too hard for him to say, “Good for Walmart. I hope they succeed in this endeavor. Period.”
That hit the nail on the head, and Rowe is absolutely right about Hill and others like him who insist that an organization is wrong unless they honor every single one of their beliefs. This situation is emblematic of the inability for many in the American public to separate good actions from the perceived bad actor.
If Walmart sends some jobs overseas, then the ones they attempt to bring here aren’t good enough. If Chick-fil-a has outstanding working conditions, wages, and customer experience, but their CEO has certain beliefs about what a family should be, then the business must be boycotted and destroyed.
Yes, there are things wrong with every business. But when a business does something that is so undeniably good, it should be applauded, regardless of the fact that you’ve been conditioned to despise them.DONATE
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