As we’ve noted, Target has drawn heavy fire for its donation to an organization that’s speaking out in support of Minnesota gubernatorial candidate who opposes gay marriage. One of the latest examples of this criticism is a humorous viral video featuring a flash mob that performs a song called “Target Ain’t People”—set to the tune of Depeche Mode’s hit song “People are People”—in the middle of a Target store as employees and customers look on with varying degrees of bemusement.
A link to the video is here. A small sample of the lyrics follows:
think they’ll get away. Gonna make them pay.
Target ain’t people so why should it be
allowed to play around with our democracy.
Later, the performers tell their audience: “Boycott Target. Take America back!”
You could dismiss this video as the frivolous ramblings of slackers who like to dress up in costumes and make an annoyance of themselves instead of, you know, getting a job. But that would be a mistake. That’s because the video unwittingly provides all the insight you’ll ever need into what makes critics of Citizens United tick.
For all their railing against Target spending money on speech, it’s clear that the not-ready-for-prime-time players don’t think that corporations like Target can make them do their bidding. They want the audience to know that they’re smarter and hipper than that. And they clearly believe that there are at least some like-minded individuals of a progressive political mindset who will join them in their anti-Target crusade.
But they’re worried that the unwashed masses aren’t as enlightened as they are, which is why they want corporations like Target to be banned from spending money on political speech during election season.
In other words, they subscribe to the same condescending attitude that is at the heart of all criticism of Citizens United: Most of the public is made up of idiots, and they’ll vote however corporations tell them to.
But wait just a second. Those who stay with the video to the very end learn that the advertisement was funded by MoveOn.org—a corporation whose business is to influence elections. It looks like we’ll need to add a lyric to the flash mob’s song:
MoveOn.org is a corporation so why should it be
paying for a video that promotes hypocrisy?
The answer, presumably, is that MoveOn.org thinks it’s okay for the right kind of corporations—those who can always be counted on to promote a progressive political agenda—to engage in as much robust political speech as they’d like.
I’m sure it’s merely a coincidence that MoveOn.org happens to be one of those corporations.
Image source: Gregory Povey