I come from a long line of boycotters. It’s the Irish in me. The term “boycott” derives from Charles Boycott of County Mayo (where me da’s people were from) who tried to evict tenants from land owned by a British absentee landlord in the middle of a severe economic downturn. Parnell suggested people should, instead of resorting to violence, simply shun Mr. Boycott. As a result of Parnell’s exhortations, people refused to work on Boycott’s farm, all the shopkeepers stopped doing any business with him, and even the letter carrier would not deliver his mail to him. This kind of shunning came to known in general as “boycotting.”
African Americans about 60 years earlier than the 1880 Irish “boycott” terminology, did the same thing and encouraged Americans to shun buying any products created by slave labor. My people were still in the potato fields at that point, but had we been in the United States I know we would have supported that effort.
Back when I was a drinker (reports have it I drank enough in my young life to float a very large ship) I preferred scotch. It was pointed out to me that I was handing money over to the British who were at that time still oppressing the Catholics in Northern Ireland. I switched to Jameson’s Irish Whiskey (until the stuff did me in.) Over the years
I’ve given up Nestle products because of a furor over the distribution of infant formula in Third World Nations and I was definitely part of the lettuce movement in 1968.
I refuse to buy products in plastic bottles or to drink out of Styrofoam cups.
Which brings me to Chick-fil-A. Firstly, I would readily boycott that establishment for their spelling choices and I have no problem whatsoever boycotting that business because of the philosophy of their owner. I also hesitate buying products in Staples, for instance, because a certain Republican running for President once owned the company. This is America where you can say pretty much anything that is on your mind, and you can say it out loud. I would fight for Mr. Cathy’s right to proclaim his opposition to same sex marriage as strongly as I would fight for my right to exort you to never cross the threshold of any of his establishments. All of this is to say there is a quirky blend of logic and illogic to my boycotting.
If you are in business, especially if you are a plumber with a small truck or van, you probably should think twice about the kind of speech you put on your bumper sticker. If you make a big deal out of the fact that you are anti-gay and you think you are going to park in my driveway to fix my sink, you have another think coming.