Yeah, they’ve got the right to do it. It’s just so annoying.

No, not the Cordova Initiative and the Ground Zero Mosque, although the title might still apply. No, I’m talking about this:

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Protesters have been rallying outside Target Corp. or its stores almost daily since the retailer angered gay rights supporters and progressives by giving money to help a conservative Republican gubernatorial candidate in Minnesota. Liberal groups are pushing to make an example of the company, hoping its woes will deter other businesses from putting their corporate funds into elections.

So what we have here is: Target Corp. exercised their right to take part in the political process, and now a liberal organization is exercising their right to do the same.

Hey, that’s how it is. I’ve seen people change banks because one bank official took a vehement stand on a local tax issue. I’ve known people to avoid certain shops, owned by staunch liberals or conservatives.

During the 2004 presidential election, John Kerry’s campaign came to Spring Green, WI, just a (long) stone’s throw from my home town, to spend a few days preparing for a debate. The hotel they intended to stay in was owned by a Republican, who had Bush yard signs up all over the place.

Kerry found another hotel.

People have the right of association, and people are exercising that right. It’s the American way, and if it gets a little uncomfortable sometimes, well, man up. Grow a pair.

That people are protesting Target doesn’t bother me, although I wonder if MoveOn would do the same if, for example, some of Target’s executives contributed personally to a candidate MoveOn didn’t like.

What does bother me is: what if this had gone the other way? What if Target had contributed to an uber-liberal candidate?

There have been examples of conservatives rallying and forcing a retreat, or apology. But not many. Maybe I’m wrong — I sure hope so — but I don’t think conservatives have the protesting chops to put pressure on a corporation the way liberal organizations like MoveOn do. We’re too busy gettin’ on gettin’ on.

On the other side, conservatives have begun to rally to support Target, but in smaller numbers. A Facebook page urging “Boycott Target Until They Cease Funding Anti-Gay Politics” has more than 54,000 fans. A page declaring “I will NOT Boycott Target for supporting a Conservative candidate” has a little more than 400 fans.

See?

If this becomes a pattern, corporations will understand that supporting conservatives equals bad public relations, while supporting liberals — or, at least, liberal causes — doesn’t.

The funny part is: I’m not even asking conservatives to do what these particular liberals are doing. Seems wrong, somehow, to make such an issue over supporting a political candidate. I still talk to my neighbors, after all, even though their yard signs and mine advertise for opposing candidates.

Just something to be aware of, I guess.

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