Georgia Republicans Try To Punish Delta For CEO's Statement About Voting Rights Law
from the cancel-culture? dept
Punishing people or companies for their speech is never something any politician should ever be engaged in. It’s why we called out Elizabeth Warren recently. And now we’ll call out Republican legislators in Georgia, who tried (but failed) to punish Delta in direct response to its CEO’s comments. The details honestly don’t matter here, because all that matters is “politicians looking to punish speech” but we’ll give the basic background.
As you may have heard in the news, a week ago, Georgia passed a big new voting bill that has been quite controversial. In short, like many recent bills, in the name of “election integrity” the law is likely to make it more difficult for some people to vote. Once again, there remains vanishingly little evidence of voter fraud in elections, and bills like this one generally appear to be a fig leaf for trying to disenfranchise voters who are more likely to vote for Democrats.
Initially Delta put out a statement that applauded some of the provisions in the bill (the parts that did expand some early and absentee voting). But praising those aspects of the bill was seen as approving the entire bill, which angered lots of people — leading to calls to boycott Delta. It didn’t then take long for Delta’s CEO to come out with a surprisingly harsh condemnation of the law, which seemed like a pretty sharp turnaround from the original statement praising pieces of the law.
In response to that, Republican lawmakers in Georgia set out to take away certain tax breaks for Delta. Now, there may be perfectly good reasons to remove such tax breaks, but doing so directly in response to the CEO’s statement, is not how any of this is supposed to work. But, the legislators in question seemed so sure that this was the right culture warrior stance to take that they didn’t even try to hide the reasoning behind some made up argument. They just out and out admitted that this was punishment over speech:
?They like our public policy when we?re doing things that benefit them,? said House Speaker David Ralston, adding: ?You don?t feed a dog that bites your hand. You got to keep that in mind sometimes.?
While the House passed the resolution, the Georgia Senate did not, so the issue is effectively dead, but still immensely problematic from a 1st Amendment stand point. Some might argue that this is the flipside of the calls for a boycott, but that’s entirely different. A boycott (which, it should be admitted, are rarely effective) would be decisions by individual consumers. They can do that. Politicians out-and-out retaliating for speech is a quintessential 1st Amendment problem.
This isn’t a Republican or Democrat issue. As noted, we’ve called out both Republicans and Democrats for this tactic. If you have legitimate reasons to legislate, that’s fine. But legislation should never be punishment for speech.