Wednesday, August 19, 2009

CEO Causes Stir...For Making Sense!

We are all responsible for our own lives and our own health. We should take that responsibility very seriously and use our freedom to make wise lifestyle choices that will protect our health. Doing so will enrich our lives and will help create a vibrant and sustainable American society.

Does this sound like a crazed lunatic that is on a evil right winged agenda to destroy President Obama's health care reform campaign? I didn't really think that it did, but apparently there are many out there who do. Whole Foods CEO John Mackey wrote an op-ed piece for the Wall Street Journal that has many people vowing never to shop at Whole Foods again. I found out about the public outrage surrounding his piece through this article on ABC News which you can read here.

"I will never shop there again," vowed Joshua, a 45-year-old blogger, who asked that his last name not be published.

Like many of his fellow health food fanatics, Joshua said he will no longer patronize the store after learning about Whole Foods Market Inc.'s CEO John Mackey's views on health care reform, which were made public this week in an op-ed piece he wrote for The Wall Street Journal.

Michael Lent, another Whole Foods enthusiast in Long Beach, Calif., told that he, too, will turn to other organic groceries for his weekly shopping list.

"I'm boycotting [Whole Foods] because all Americans need health care," said Lent, 33, who used to visit his local Whole Foods "several times a week."

"While Mackey is worried about health care and stimulus spending, he doesn't seem too worried about expensive wars and tax breaks for the wealthy and big businesses such as his own that contribute to the deficit," said Lent.

I read Mackey's full op-ed here, and not only did I not find the article off color, I thought he wrote a very well written article with actual solutions and recommendations. I have been fairly absent from the health care debate and will be the first to admit my knowledge of the issues is fairly limited. However, that is not the point. The point is that many people blast anyone who has an "opposing view" without really knowing what is going on. Blogger Ben Casnocha recently wrote an interesting little blurb on opting out of the health care debate, you can read it here.

I think that with the massive amounts of information available today through phones, internet, ect most people are settling on headline deep knowledge of the issues at hand. We are all guilty of this. However, it is the most ignorant people who yell the loudest who often get the most attention. Unfortunately I feel that their theatrics come at the expense of the masses who, in an effort to run their daily dose of information through a sieve, end up recycling the same half truths and partisan bullet points. Check out what Seth Godin had to say in a similar topic on being willfully ignorant vs. aggressively skeptical.

If you still don’t understand what I am getting at then read the following from the original ABC news article.

The op-ed piece, which begins with a Margaret Thatcher quote, "The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money," has left some Whole Foods loyalists enraged. Many say Mackey was out of line to opine against the liberal base that has made his fortune possible.

Christine Taylor, a 34-year-old New Jersey shopper, vowed never to step foot in another Whole Foods again.

"I will no longer be shopping at Whole Foods," Taylor told "I think a CEO should take care that if he speaks about politics, that his beliefs reflect at least the majority of his clients."

Apparently Christine thinks that in order to shop for organic fruits and vegetables you must be "liberal." And furthermore, if you are a CEO of a company you should adopt the political views of your customers. Now can you see how out of whack the line of reasoning of some of these people is?

Now I am not going to go into whether or not Mackey's eight proposed solutions make sense or not because as I said before I am fairly ignorant on the topic at large. However there was one suggestion that I haven’t heard yet that I thought was a pretty cool idea.

Finally, revise tax forms to make it easier for individuals to make a voluntary, tax-deductible donation to help the millions of people who have no insurance and aren't covered by Medicare, Medicaid or the State Children's Health Insurance Program.

Obviously I have been pretty involved in my non-profit Checking For Charity Corporation as of late and it has shown me to never underestimate the will of mankind to help a cause that they believe in. I think this recommendation rests on this very belief.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good post Matt...

I know several successful business men and women that have similar views. Most are fearful sharing due to negative fallout. I have respect for anyone someone at his level speaking openly on his/her viewpoint. Even if I agree/disagree with that person.

Couldn’t agree more about the stereotype “If you eat organic you must be liberal”. Some of the comments on boycotting are ridiculous. Almost humorous.

-Ward H-