They’re suspending all political donations temporarily while they reevaluate their policy or whatever but that’s a fig leaf to justify cutting off pro-gun gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam, to whom Publix has donated big bucks over the years and whom Hogg and the Parkland kids want to make an example of.
If you’re a gun-rights supporter and you continue to shop there, you’re subsidizing the new policy. Gun-grabbers have every right to try to influence Publix’s political giving by damaging their bottom line. So do you.
“We would never knowingly disappoint our customers or the communities we serve,’’ said company spokesman Dwaine Stevens in a statement Friday. “As a result, we decided earlier this week to suspend corporate-funded political contributions as we reevaluate our giving processes.’’…
“At Publix, we respect the students and members of the community who have chosen to express their voices on these issues,’’ Stevens’ statement said. “We regret that our contributions have led to a divide in our community. We did not intend to put our associates and the customers they serve in the middle of a political debate.’’…
Despite Publix’s longtime support of conservative causes and candidates, it’s rare for the company to become the center of controversy, said Aubrey Jewett, a professor of political science at the University of Central Florida.
“In a serious political game of chicken, Publix blinked,” Jewett went on to say. Indeed. The impetus for this surrender was Hogg organizing a protest in the parking lot of a Publix store in Coral Springs in which he and others drew chalk outlines of bodies on the asphalt. The law on whether the First Amendment applies to parking lots in shopping centers has been iffy over the years at the federal level and among the states. The Warren Court once held that because parking lots were held open to the public, they were a de facto public forum covered by the First Amendment even though privately owned. The Burger Court later reversed that. Assuming Publix owned the land, presumably they could have had the cops come and move Hogg et al. out if they were loitering. But protesting in a large parking lot is about as non-disruptive as a demonstration on private property can be and the store manager probably assumed it wasn’t worth making a fuss about given the poor “optics” of forcible removal.
Hogg himself seemed to think he had a First Amendment right to do it, but then he would.
Thank you @ACLU and @CoralSpringsPD for helping us all exercise our 1st amendment right. Talking about these issues is the first step to solving them. To the NRA supporters thank you for making your voice heard we are fighting for you too.
Let’s save lives. pic.twitter.com/WXLFgxlps8
— David Hogg (@davidhogg111) May 25, 2018
The protest didn’t stay outside, though. Later Hogg and his fellow demonstrators moved inside and staged a “die-in” right there in the produce aisle — leading to this surreal scene:
— Emilee McGovern (@EmileeRose) May 26, 2018
Hogg’s mother, who participated in the die-in, told the Orlando Sentinel that “people were stepping over her to get to their fruit.” Let no amount of theatrical wokeness stop you from getting those pineapple chunks you came for.
Anyway, can they do that? Can they just lie down on the store floor to make a political point while customers are trying to shop? Uh, no, of course not. Publix could have called PD. But the die-in lasted all of 12 minutes and Hogg has a *lot* of sympathizers in media, local and national. It’ll be many years before he annoys enough people to shed the aura of Absolute Moral Authority that he enjoys on the left right now. Publix is going to follow the path of least resistance on public relations here for as long as they can so as not to make an enemy of the Parkland crowd and their press phalanx. Don’t complain about the protesters, don’t hassle them, certainly don’t call the police on them. Just let them do their stunt, let Hogg get his adoring media coverage for the day, and wait for the Parkland organizers to have their attention diverted by another corporation guilty of wrongthink. Hogg could have pinched a loaf in the middle of the frozen foods aisle and a company spokesman would have issued a statement congratulating him on its healthy size and color.
I assume this ends with Publix agreeing to make a hefty donation to the PAC of his choice. Here’s a bit of the scene yesterday. Yes, there were gun-rights supporters there too, as you’ll see.