Concerning Coffee

Dear Ms Chelsen Vicari, Online Communications Strategist for Concerned Women for America,

I read with great interest yesterday the blogpost you wrote for your organisation, Concerned Women for America, in which you berated the CEO of coffee chain titan, Starbucks, for coming out in support of equal marriage and saying that if shareholders were not happy about the company’s position they could sell their shares and buy new ones in a different company.  I was so taken with your brave stance that I simply had to drop everything I was doing and put finger to keypad immediately to write this response.

Before I come to the content of your post, let me begin by congratulating you for your strength and tenacity in the face of potential complete and utter ridicule.  It can’t be easy being a concerned woman for America when what you’re concerned about are the six huge issues of the family, the sanctity of human life, religious liberty, education, pornography and national sovereignty, and when the rest of the sane, loving and rational world appears to think differently than you on almost every one of them.  A lesser woman, one who wasn’t perhaps quite so concerned (or, perhaps, whose concerns, perish the thought, lay more in the direction of equality and fairness and not their own narrow interpretation of the Bible – yuck!), might shy away from expressing the kind of opinions you do, for fear of looking like a total idiot, but not you, Ms Vicari.  You express your opinions freely, without worrying about whether they make you look cruel or bigoted.  Go you!

And that brings me neatly to the content of your post.  You begin by referring to a previous post you wrote “this exact week” a year ago, in which you called out the Starbucks CEO, Howard Schultz, “for supporting a liberal agenda that totally disregards the traditional values of many customers and staff members”.  In that post, you criticised Mr Schultz heavily for ignoring the concerns of shareholder Tom Strohbar, the founder of the Corporate Morality Action Center (a kind of Concerned Shareholders for America organisation, if you will), who complained a year ago that Starbucks’s support for equal marriage might damage profits.  In this week’s post, you point out that another year has gone by and, despite your original blogpost and the one-woman boycott you initiated at the time, Howard Schultz has not changed his opinion.  I can’t for one moment imagine why.  Maybe he doesn’t read your blog.  Or maybe, perish the thought, he’s concerned about different things than you, like fairness and equality for his staff members (all together now…”yuck”).

You go on in your current blogpost to talk about this year’s Starbucks shareholder meeting, at which, guess who, Thomas Strohbar raised his concerns about Starbucks’s support for equal marriage.  (As an aside, that man really ought to be have been born a woman, right?  Then he could join Concerned Women for America.  He certainly seems, like you, to have all the right credentials: the extremely narrow (some might say bigoted) interpretation of the Bible, the completely rational (some might say irrational) fear that the gays are taking over America, the hugely influential blog…Maybe you ought to suggest it to him when you meet him next.  Shove him in a dress and he could write for your organisation.  You never know, he might enjoy it.  The writing, that is, not the dress).

Anyway, I digress.  In your blogpost you go on to say that Howard Schultz told Mr Strohbar that he wanted to “embrace diversity of all kinds” and that if Mr Strohbar wasn’t happy with that he could sell his shares in Starbucks.  Naturally, you are very concerned by those words.  And why wouldn’t you be?  The CEO of a major US company, with branches in hundreds of countries around the world, has said that he is more interested in equality and fairness than profits!  Very concerning.  What kind of American would put his own feelings – however kind, fair and inclusive they may be – above the two most important things ever to exist in life: money and Chelsen Vicari’s interpretation of the Bible?  Clearly not a proper American, which is why you go on to say that Howard Schultz is “prejudicial and bigoted” for almost literally refusing the custom of straight people all over the world.  For we all know that embracing diversity really means only selling coffee to gays.

I couldn’t go on without stopping to congratulate you on the next part of your blogpost, you know, the bit where you ask Howard Schultz if he’s planning on installing separate drinking fountains in Starbucks stores for liberals and conservatives or releasing job adverts with the tagline “Heterosexuals need not apply”.  It’s so typically selfless and brave of you to expose yourself to total ridicule by suggesting that, in embracing diversity, Howard Schultz is just like the racist bigots of the pre-1960s southern states, who believed that black and white people should have separate drinking fountains and who released job adverts with the tagline “No negroes”.  A lesser woman, one less concerned for America than you perhaps, might fear that people reading her blog would actually believe that those racist practices were wrong and that, in not supporting equal marriage, the person who was actually advocating discrimination against a minority was her, and not Howard Schultz.  But not you, Chelsen, no.  You don’t shy away from telling it like it is and pointing out to America that the real bigots are those who support equality for all regardless of race, creed and even sexuality.

You finish your blogpost with an ominous message to Howard Schultz that he should have heeded your warning of a year ago because there are “twice as many conservatives as there are liberals” in the US and if they all, like you, decide to buy their coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts in future, that could really eat into Starbucks’s profits.  You illustrate this with your “4th grade arithmetic” by pointing out that because Howard Schultz is “only tolerant of approximately 2 percent of America’s 300 million citizens” (that would be those “who live homosexual lifestyles”), he’s definitely going to lose money because “the profits made from 2 percent are less than the profits from 98 percent”.  That’s assuming, of course, that that 98 percent of US citizens (the straight ones) believe in inequality like you and follow your lead in ditching Starbucks, which, judging by just how influential your blog is and how successful your post of a year ago was in changing Howard Schultz’s mind, may just happen.

Well, I’d better leave this letter here as I don’t want to take up your time any longer.  A concerned woman like you has lots to be getting on with, I’m sure.  Flying the flag for intolerance and inequality in America is tiring work.  Make sure you’ve got that caffeine boost to hand at all times.  Not from Starbucks, of course, but from the as-yet equal marriage neutral Dunkin’ Donuts.  Not that you’d even be able to find a Starbucks store still open, of course, so crippled is the global giant by your one-woman boycott.

Peace out (as I think they say on the liberal west coast) and thanks for your concern,

R