When it comes to protest, a general rules applies: Don’t Over-Promise. Don’t Under-Deliver. The brainchild behind the “Dump General Mills” campaign might have thought of that before getting all of the Minnesota media out to meet what was reported as “about 50” or “dozens of supporters” ready to do some dumping.
You know, I know a little something about boycotts. Back in 2010, when I helped lead SEIU’s national immigration campaign, we were one of the organizations leading the boycott of that state in the wake of Governor Brewer signing of Arizona law SB1070. And it had an effect. (Bet you didn’t think I could bring together two of the things I’ve written about on this blog – Arizona and the Minnesota Marriage Amendment!)
Tuesday morning Minnesotans for Marriage sent out a release saying “We’ve heard from hundreds of people who are extremely disappointed with General Mills opposition to the marriage amendment,” said Andy Parrish, Minnesota for Marriage Deputy Campaign Manager.
By afternoon, when press reported that “dozens” had shown up, their numbers had inflated: “We have heard from thousandsof Minnesotans that are pretty upset that General Mills has come out against a marriage between a man and a woman,” said Chuck Darrell, spokesman for Minnesota for Marriage.
What do you do when you have no bad guy?
You can’t blame Minnesotans for (Meddling in Other People’s) Marriage(s) for trying to find themselves a bad guy to rally their base.
One of the things that is different about the Minnesota marriage fight is that, here, there isn’t the boogeyman of “activist judges” that has energized their base in other states.
In Minnesota, it was the Legislature that picked this fight. They did so even as they drove the government to shut down, even in the middle of a budget crisis, even in the middle of a jobs crisis, even in the middle of a financial meltdown. They made this their priority. That, in addition to dramatic generational and cultural shifts, has energized those who believe our constitution should not be used to limit the freedom to marry.
So the other side is struggling to find a bad guy.
Betty Crocker will just have to do.
So how did General Mills react? They brought the small group of protesters coffee.
The Star Tribune reported that they brought coffee out to the protestors. “It’s the neighborly thing to do,” General Mills spokesman Tom Forsythe told those who had gathered. “I was raised as a Minnesotan, and when people drop by your house, you put on coffee, so that’s what we did.”
Told ya. Our side is nicer.
Another reason Minnesotans won’t stop the conversation about marriage.