Source: Charles Turot

It began with throw pillows.  Pillows shouldn’t matter much, but like every decision we make now, they matter more than you think.

The old sofa had to go.  It had lasted 25 years, by some miracle.  The old sofa was U.S.-made.  Only 20% of today’s furniture is.  It was expensive; the store owner told us we’d be able re-upholster it down the road, though that would be expensive, too.  He was right on both counts.  He retired.  His kids run the store now.

We managed to find a new sofa, also made here.  A different color.  So we needed throw pillows.

Choosing colors is tricky online.  I wanted to buy them from an actual store.  There aren’t many stores left.  Jeff Bezos sells us everything.  I stopped at a few and came up empty.  Just ahead was Bed, Bath and Beyond.  Surely, they would have every throw pillow known to mankind.  Then I caught myself, as I might when reaching into the fridge for leftover chicken on a Friday during Lent.  I won’t spend another dollar at BB&B after it canceled Mike Lindell.   

Is there an American who doesn’t know Lindell?  A college dropout and serial entrepreneur, he became addicted to crack cocaine.  He lost his home and was divorced.  He credits his sobriety to his Christian faith . He’s passionate about it, as anyone should be after escaping the talons of the devil.  There but for the grace of God goes any of us.  He invented his revolutionary pillow in 2004.

My pillow is a MyPillow.  It costs a lot, but darned if it doesn’t do exactly what it claims.  The typical box-store pillow is shot after a year at most.  MyPillow soldiers on.  Lindell’s son is running the company now, though Dad’s familiar face still sells the products on TV.  His new ambition is politics.  Last March, “the MyPillow guy” appeared with the president, praising his handling of COVID and dedicating his factories to production of then-scarce masks.  He defied the narrative that we should tremble in our locked down homes and it was all Trump’s fault.  With his highly visible support of the Orange Man, the benevolent bedding-peddler with the cross around his neck quickly earned a place on the Public Enemies List of the mainstream media and the radical left.

Then came the election.  Lindell joined legal luminaries Lin Wood, Sidney Powell, and Rudy Giuliani in seeking the truth about massive fraud everyone could sense but few could quantify.  His contribution was not expertise, but passion.  To the very end, as constitutional safeguards failed and hope dimmed, he maintained that the president would be re-inaugurated.  Good salespeople are optimists.  Lindell, who sells $60 pillows, is the Optimist King.

President Trump was impeached, without witnesses, in five short days, the same length of time Henry VIII required to dispatch St. Thomas More.  A single count of impeachment was brought: “inciting insurrection” by questioning the results of the election.  For the same grievous offense, Mike Lindell was blacklisted by Bed, Bath and Beyond; JC Penney; Kohl’s; and others.  Perhaps they take personal offense at Lindell’s politics; more likely, they’re simply cowards yielding to leftist pressure.  BB&B raised the insult level by cloaking its kowtowing in corporate babble we amateurs call “lying”: “rationalizing our assortment to discontinue a number of underperforming items and brands.”  I wanted to tell them how I felt about.  That can’t be done online.  No email, no phone number.  They’d rather not know.  So I just don’t go there anymore.

The politics of the company’s board, its employees, or the entities whose products they carry is none of my business. I’ve never cared about that when I bought things anywhere.  I start to care when corporation try to put a company out of business because the owner’s politics looks like mine — in this case, because he exercised his First Amendment rights.  If political correctness is fascism with manners, cancel culture is fascism out of uniform, carrying a concealed weapon.  Amazon sells 83% of America’s books.  If Jeff Bezos won’t list what you’ve written, your First Amendment rights may be intact, but your writing career is over.  President Biden would advise you to learn to code.

The day I didn’t buy throw pillows, Hyatt Hotels fielded a similar leftist assault with aplomb.  The Hyatt Regency Orlando hosted CPAC this year.  It’s a gorgeous venue for a big convention, among the few taking place recently.  I’ve attended CPAC, a joyous, energizing gathering of exceptional people, like-minded thinkers, and patriots.  Hosting it is a feather in the cap of any hotel.

Leftists took a different view.  Boycott pledges rained down on Hyatt the day President Trump addressed the conference, his first appearance since leaving office peacefully.  Hyatt stood accused of accommodating “Nazis,” “white supremacists,” and “insurrectionists,” people we know as Republicans, conservatives, and Trump voters.  It’s a niche market: half the country.  The Hyatt chain explained they were in the business of welcoming everyone. Their statement was so warmhearted thatit brought tears to your eyes, while yielding not an inch to the cancelistas.  The hotel’s affirmation of its right — indeed, its obligation — to offer its product without regard to politics represented the best of American capitalism.  Hyatt’s courage sets an example for every company facing extortion by malicious radicals.

This is how boycotts work in a nation polarized.  The left  boycotts those who allow conservatives the freedom to do business.  We boycott those who don’t.

We also support those who do.  We stocked up Goya foods in response to a boycott when its CEO joined a presidential panel on Hispanic enterprise.  The shelves were half-emptied in my supermarket.  We ordered from L.L. Bean more than ever when a donation to a Trump PAC from a Bean family member sparked a boycott (not that its products aren’t sufficient reason for loyalty).

Conservatives support businesses who support freedom: freedom of expression, freedom of political affiliation, freedom to pursue success.  The left boycotts those same businesses, for the same reason.  This defines conservatives as well as anything.

Your money, it turns out, buys not just pillows.  It buys freedom, for you and for others.  Where you spend your money matters much more now than it did when we bought the old sofa.

Charles Turot is a pseudonym.