Amy Roberts: HypocrisLee
Considering Delta Air Lines is pretty much one’s only ticket in and out of Utah and many of this state’s residents guzzle Coca-Cola by the gallon, one might think those two corporate behemoths would have to endorse something much more controversial than voting rights for Utah Sen Mike Lee to feign offense.
Delta and Coca-Cola are just two of hundreds of major U.S. companies that have voiced criticism against Georgia’s new election law, a law that undeniably aims to suppress the vote of people of color. In the 98-page law, which Mike Lee admitted he had not read, there are 16 specifications designed to limit voting access, create needless and complicated restrictions, and ultimately give more power to Republican lawmakers. Some highlights include: halving the time to request an absentee ballot, significantly reducing the number of ballot drop boxes and hours one can drop off a ballot, and making it illegal to provide food and water to voters waiting in line.
The CEOs of both companies called the new law “unacceptable,” with Delta’s CEO Ed Bastian going on to say, “It’s evident that the bill includes provisions that will make it harder for many underrepresented voters, particularly Black voters, to exercise their constitutional right to elect their representatives. That is wrong.”
In response, Mike Lee (who again, admitted he hasn’t even read the law), said in a radio interview “I find that kind of intrusion unseemly and inappropriate.” He went on to say, “It’s wildly partisan what they’re doing,” and that he “can’t fathom a legitimate, valid basis for Coca-Cola, for Delta or any of these companies to come out and say you can’t do this.”
For starters, the legitimate reason for these companies to speak out against the law is human decency. No wonder Lee can’t fathom it. Later in the interview he stated the corporate criticism “is a blatantly partisan move,” and it was “really, really offensive.”
The mental gymnastics Mike Lee must perform on daily basis is, well, mind bending. This is the same man who lauded Citizens United, the landmark Supreme Court decision that determined corporations are people, hence removing reasonable campaign contribution limits. He was giddy when Hobby Lobby won a court case that essentially declared the business to have individual religious rights. He was vocally opposed to other states having any say on what happened with Bears Ears and the Grand Staircase national monuments. And, no matter how hard I dig, I just can’t seem to find any trace of Mike Lee shaming the MyPillow guy for being “wildly partisan” or “offensive” or “unseemly and inappropriate.”
But there’s so much more hypocrisy to unpack. Mike Lee readily accepts campaign contributions from corporations. How are corporate campaign donations not “a blatantly partisan move?” Further, he calls the statements from Delta and Coca-Cola intrusive and inappropriate. I kind of think anytime a middle-aged white dude tries to dictate what women can and can’t do with their bodies, or tells others whom they can and can’t marry, it’s pretty intrusive and inappropriate, too. Not to mention, for decades the Republican rally cry has been “let the free market decide!” Well, guess what? The market just decided to speak out against a rigged system.
Last week, Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred announced the 2021 All-Star Game would no longer be played in Atlanta and said in a tweet: “Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box.”
To which Mike Lee, who again has not read the bill and has been vocally opposed to officials from other states weighing in on Utah’s national monuments, tweeted back: “It’s time for the federal government to stop granting special privileges to specific, favored corporations — especially those that punish their political opponents.”
Ironically, the Georgia voting law was expressly written to punish the political opponents of the state’s GOP legislature, i.e. the largely Black and Democratic voters who turned the state blue in November’s election. Make no mistake, this law is not about voter fraud, it’s about voter turnout.
Hundreds of other corporations have spoken out against Georgia’s law, but Lee apparently found it acceptable to comment on Delta – which essentially funded the new airport in Salt Lake and employs thousands of Utahns. Perhaps he should have tweeted from his iPhone how “inappropriate” Apple’s and Twitter’s objections are. He could also call out Zillow for its objection to the law, right before he short sells another home. Or perhaps he could turn his ire towards Google. But then where would he look up the words so often used to describe him: “ignorant, hypocrite, racist, bigoted, misogynistic, dolt?”
Amy Roberts is a freelance writer, longtime Park City resident and the proud owner of two rescued Dalmatians, Stanley and Willis. Follow her on Twitter @amycroberts.
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In Teri Orr’s decades of traveling to Boulder, Utah, she does “what comes naturally — I listen to the conversations about what matters most to the folks who live there.”