Jim Crawford: Blowing up my Bud

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 20, 2023

There is something about blowing up perfectly fine beer with a weapon of mass destruction that seems a little off.

Nonetheless, that is precisely what performer Kid Rock did with his Bud Light 12 pack, because the beer company partnered with, gasp, a trans influencer, Dylan Mulvaney.

It seems like it might have been considerably more thoughtful of Kid first to drink the beer he had already paid for and only then demonstrate his virility by turning the cans into mush — same point, just more frugal. 

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But the beer is not really the point of it all; the point is Anheuser-Busch is advancing social tolerance that Kid and others find offensive.

 In general, protesting, even boycotting, products that take social positions that rankle your sensitivities or cause your moral outrage is a legitimate exercise in American politics. Both liberals and conservatives have exercised their rights and preferences in this regard over the most recent decades as the nation has become increasingly divided over peripheral issues. Issues often stimulated by the political pros who seem inclined to busy themselves keeping folks engaged with those whose sexuality needs correction rather than more thorny issues like our soaring gun deaths or our immigration crisis.

Still, in some ways, this particular explosion of hysteria is kind of surprising. Anheuser-Busch has supported LGBTQ rights for over 20 years with its Pride campaigns. At least half of the major beer producers have done the same. As for Bud Light’s campaign, the company’s rationale is that it has faced an aging and shrinking buyer’s market for Bud Light and needed to broaden its demographic appeal to a younger and considerably more tolerant market. 

The long-term goal is to rejuvenate its appeal and grow sales. The company says it remains committed to the campaign despite the short-term damage by some Bud Light, now-ex customers.

The more straightforward truth is that, in recent years, many of our Republican friends have concentrated on condemning human sexuality in almost every form.

Only a decade ago, Republicans lent support to denying free access to contraception, an issue still in the public sphere. And, more recently, the Republican half-century of attack on women’s rights to abortion has succeeded in putting women’s lives at risk across the nation. The logical outcome of these two policy goals would be that women who choose to have sex should accept that the decision includes a likelihood of pregnancy that should be “normal.” It is not normal; it is a form of extremism that has changed voting patterns overnight.

Reaching ever deeper into the freedom of sexuality, Republicans have adopted the derivative attacks on drag queens (at least 14 Republican-led states have proposed restrictions) and LGBTQ restrictions, including public gathering rights. And now, the attack on trans simply for “being” in the world. Fundamentally, this is an old but enduring bias, an attack upon homosexuality, a tolerance now accepted legally, but not morally, by an intolerant collection of the same folks who have fought long and hard against contraception and abortion. 

Overall, they represent less than 20 percent of Americans, but their oversized influence is present daily.

Blowing up your Bud is your right, have at it. But intolerance for folks different from you is just not a good fit in a free society.

Jim Crawford is a retired educator and political enthusiast living here in the Tri-State.