Three weeks ago, the American Association of Wine Economists (AAWE) published a list of the top political contributors in the wine industry. While there are numerous problems with this “study” (many of which are enumerated by Tom Wark on his fantastic Fermentation Wine Blog), it nonetheless caused quite a stir on Twitter and in the general blogosphere. I first planned to spend this entire space ranting about shoddy research (being from a research background), but I decided on another path.
Instead, I decided to focus on the invective that was hurled at John Jordan, the owner of Jordan Winery in Healdsburg, California. Many people attacked Mr. Jordan for being high on the AAWE list of contributors to the current president and admonished Lisa Mattson, the Marketing Director at Jordan for everything from defending the Jordan name and brand (which is her job) to even working there at all (i.e., “How could you work for someone that has donated to Trump?”).
Before I get to my main point, I need to state that I dislike the current occupant of the Oval Office as much as anybody and I am desperately hoping that he loses (and loses badly) in November’s election. If it were possible to block out every other reason that this man should not be president other than his administration’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, that alone is more than sufficient to confirm that he should be removed from office as fast as humanly possible.
When I add his lack of compassion, intense cruelty, and undeniable racism to his complete incompetence, it is clear to me that he is by far the most ill-prepared and ill-equipped person to ever be president of this country.
But, as much as it pains me to state this, while I wonder how anybody could, people still have the right to vote for Trump and donate to his campaign if they so choose.
[It should be noted that Lisa Mattson strongly disputed the AAWE’s indication that Mr. Jordan donated to the Trump reelection campaign. She claims that the money went to more general Republican or conservative outlets.]
I do not know John Jordan although I did have dinner one night at the winery seated directly to his left at a fairly large event. Based on our discussion that night, which had nothing to do with politics, I doubt I would want to have dinner with him again.
But. In this country, he has the right to vote for and donate to whomever he chooses.
I do believe, by the way, that consumers have the right to “vote with their feet” and purchase wine (or whatever product) from companies that seemingly align more closely with their own values. I understand the argument that some consumers would not want to “give money” to those who financially support politicians whom said consumers oppose.
But I think that is a rather lazy form of “activism.” It is far easier not to do something (e.g., buy wine) than it is to actually do something (e.g., volunteer or donate to a campaign). While vowing to boycott Jordan Winery may (or may not) have an effect on the winery’s bottom line, I doubt it will have much influence on changing Mr. Jordan’s political ideology.
What is the end game here? Are we going to have a bifurcated economy? Some stores aligned with conservatives and others with liberals (what about independents or libertarians?) I hope that many would agree that is utter nonsense.
Further, I know for certain that not all people who work at Jordan hold the same beliefs that Mr. Jordan does, in fact, far from it. I would even speculate that there are at least as many people there who oppose the president as there are who support him (that is not based on anything other than anecdotal evidence, but given the national polling, it is a pretty safe bet). I would also argue that those employees (who oppose the current administration) are far more dependant on the sales and subsequent success of the winery than is Mr. Jordan.
I think few would argue that this country is already deeply divided and many would agree that the current president is actively seeking to divide us even more. Not buying certain products based on political ideology is only going to further these divisions and cause even more distrust and hatred.
The way to get Trump out of office is not through passivity and further division but rather through action: volunteer, donate, and above all vote.