The Ethics Hero was going to be Jennifer Holliday, the big-voiced diva who stopped the Broadway hit “Dreamgirls” with her solo, “I’m not going.” She had agreed to sing at the Inauguration, telling the Associated Press that her decision to participate was a way to welcome the American people to an event that should be about unifying the country.
Which is, of course, what it is.
She then faced a vicious response to her patriotic and principled decision, with critics calling for a boycott of her music, labeling her as an “Uncle Tom,” promising that her career was over and telling her to kill herself. Most vociferous of the bullies were those from the LGBT community, which has managed to convince itself that Trump is a foe despite the fact that nothing in his speeches or record suggest that he is. But he is a Republican, and thus presumptively biased. (Assuming anyone is less than admirable based on group membership is bigotry, but in this case, the argument goes, good bigotry.)
Rather than stand up for what she said was right, Holiday whined, and capitulated:
“How could I have this much hate spewing at me, and I haven’t even done anything? I guess it’s not like those old days when political views were your own and you had freedom of speech. … We live in a different time now and a decision to go and do something for America is not so clear-cut anymore.”
O MY BELOVED LGBT COMMUNITY:
Please allow me this opportunity to speak to you directly and to explain why I originally made my decision to perform at the inauguration which was what I had thought would be my simply keeping in my tradition of being a “bi-partisan songbird” having sung for Presidents Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Bush.
I was asked to sing a song for what was presented to me as the “Welcome Concert For The People”– in my mind I was reflecting on the past times of being asked to sing for presidents and I only focused on the phrase “For The People”… I thought, For America!
I was honestly just thinking that I wanted my voice to be a healing and unifying force for hope through music to help our deeply polarized country… Regretfully, I did not take into consideration that my performing for the concert would actually instead be taken as a political act against my own personal beliefs and be mistaken for support of Donald Trump and Mike Pence.
In light of the information pointed out to me via the Daily Beast article on yesterday, my only choice must now be to stand with the LGBT Community and to state unequivocally that I WILL NOT PERFORM FOR THE WELCOME CONCERT OR FOR ANY OF THE INAUGURATION FESTIVITIES!
I sincerely apologize for my lapse of judgement, for being uneducated on the issues that affect every American at this crucial time in history and for causing such dismay and heartbreak to my fans.
Please know that I HEAR YOU and I feel your pain. The LGBT Community was mostly responsible for birthing my career and I am deeply indebted to you… You have loved me faithfully and unconditionally and for so many years you provided me with work even though my star had long since faded.
Thank you for communicating with me, I had no idea that I still meant so much to all of you.
Thank you for your posted comments both the good supportive ones as well as the ugly hurtful ones.
With LOVE & Appreciation,
“The Original DreamGirl”
Oh thank-you, thank-you, for threatening me into submission! I now see the way! How could I ever have been so blind as to choos my country and its sacred traditions of peaceful and unified transitions of power over the Daily Beast and the LGBT Star Chamber!
Abandoning one’s principles that easily is worse that not having them at all. I do not care to hear or look at Jennifer Holliday again. She is a role model for hypocrisy and cowardice.
The other Ethics Weenie, who, luckily, I never in my life wanted to hear or watch perform, was 75-year-old song-writer Vegas act Paul Anka, who had agreed to sing “My Way” at one of the Inauguration Balls, and even re-write the lyrics for the occasion. (Maybe they would have been better than the cringe-worthy lyrics he originally put to the French tune, like “..one thing of which I’m certain,” but since it’s Anka, I doubt it.) After he was similarly threatened and attacked for singing for the new President, allegedly a 50-year friend, Anka also pulled out, claiming a court conflict. “Who got to him?” Althouse mused.
One of her commenters wrote…
Sadly, the NeverTrumpers will win these little victories such as boycotting the inauguration, but they will lose the war.
The Americans who voted for Trump, many very reluctantly, now see themselves vilified by a cultural Left that can be called, without hyperbole, “frothing at the mouth”. They now understand, it’s war. The Left will not give quarter & wants nothing less than full throated assent to the twists & turns of the party line. Sides have to be chosen, because if you don’t choose a side, one side or the other will choose your side for you, often to your considerable disadvantage.
What amazes me is that the Left feels so sure of victory, in spite of the state map by party & their incompetence in the election, that they feel confident enough to start this cultural war. I really think it’s one they are going to lose. It’s not going to help the country in general, but it’s really not going to help them. Cultural boycotts can go both ways, and their economic base is geographically & industrially shakier than the heartland Right’s.
Who ever it was that “got to” Anka, they are vile, and Anka, like Holliday, is a coward.
The Ethics Dunce is Washington Post fashion writer Givhan, who spent the past eight years gushing over everything Michelle Obama did or wore. Now she attempts to justify designers withholding their fashions from Melania and Ivanka Trump. “Should designers dress Melania and Ivanka? The question is more complex than it seems” her column is headlined.
No, it’s very simple. Decent, ethical people do not withhold their talents and services from other Americans because of their identity, conduct, beliefs or associations. While artists have a right to do so while mere service providers often do not (depending on whom they choose to be jerks to), it is wrong, unethical, in either case, and leads to a broken, dysfunctional society. Would dressing the First Lady or First Daughter approval of Trump’s “scorched-earth tactics?” Givhan asks? Gee, I don’t know: would selling them a sandwich? This hypocritical, anti-American idiocy comes from a card-holding cheer-leaders for putting a pizza place out of business for daring to say that it wouldn’t cater a gay marriage who is stumped by the appropriateness of punishing two women because their father and husband is President of the United States. Gee, tough one. A real ethics head-scratcher.
Givhan measures multiple opinions from fashion designers—you know, those well-credentialed political science whizzes, but her thorough vetting of the issue bypasses the fact that no matter how much the forces of division repeat the fallacy, simple decency, polite interaction, respect and commerce does not “endorse” the political views of another citizen. It merely confirms that they are fellow human beings.
The grandstanding is palpable, as is the ignorance. One vocal designer, Sophie Theallet, wrote another “open letter” as a formal declaration that she would not associate with the First Lady. “The rhetoric of racism, sexism, and xenophobia unleashed by her husband’s presidential campaign are incompatible with the shared values we live by,” she wrote. “I encourage my fellow designers to do the same. Integrity is our only true currency.”
What balderdash. When have designers refused to dress women based on the opinions, statements and conduct of their husbands? Were Bill Clinton’s degrading cigar tricks with a star-struck intern “shared values we live by,” ? They sure didn’t hesitate to dress Hillary. These designers gave dresses toNancy Reagan, whose husband turned a blind eye to the AIDS epidemic. They happily sell clothing to the wives of despots and dictators all over the world. Integrity? Fashion designers??? I would also like to know what the racist and xenophobic rhetoric is that Sophie refers to. I bet she has no idea; she’s just mouthing talking points and partisan narratives. What is Trump’s “racist” rhetoric? Nobody has a real answer for that one. It is not xenophobic to want to enforce the immigration laws.
Those who want to discriminate in service, art and commerce on the basis of personal and political beliefs threaten American liberty, culture and the unity of the nation. There is no complex question. Either you respect the right of people to hold different opinions than you without you seeking to marginalize them, isolate them, stigmatize them , inconvenience them or punish them, or you do not. There is no ethical difference between the cake-maker who refused to sell a cake to a gay couple, the druggist who refuses to fill a birth control prescription for a single woman, and a designer who won’t sell a dress to Ivanka Trump. They are all bad citizens and divisive community members.