Boycott Pence, Not Indiana

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Indianapolis was once, and hopefully still can be, a city known for welcoming visitors and putting on great conventions and sporting events. In 2008, after critics said Indianapolis had hosted a Super Bowl that was one of the best Super Bowls ever, the city was flying high on good publicity received nationally. Now, misguided Americans have been threatening to boycott the Hoosier state and its capital because of state leadership.

Since the General Assembly signed the “fix” for the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, companies have decided to continue their plans for expansion and artists have reinstated their cancelled concert dates. However, I would like to address the ignorance that proponents of  #BoycottIndiana espoused.

An article in the Indianapolis Star reported that people were writing to a Dayton, Ind., candle company owner to say they could no longer buy her candles simply because she lives in the state Pence governs. If people really wanted to boycott Indiana, they would have to forgo vehicles with Cummins engines, stop using Eli Lilly’s prescription drugs, give up Papa John’s Pizza, stop listening to John Mellencamp and stop reading  John Green novels. Would they even reconsider Abraham Lincoln on the grounds that he lived here once?

Graphic by Ahmed Adel

Graphic by Ahmed Adel

Americans need to realize that Indiana is not Pence, and that Hoosiers are not truly represented by our General Assembly. Only 27 percent of Hoosiers voted in the 2014 election, which swept the Republican Party into super majorities in both branches of the General Assembly, and the party won all but one statewide office. According to Ballotpedia,  in 2012 only 49.5 percent of voters checked the box for Pence, which means he was not even elected by the majority of Hoosier voters, let alone by a majority of Hoosiers.

Indiana does not deserve boycotters’ hatred. Many Hoosiers have been just as upset about RFRA as the boycotters are. I even recall someone asking me at my part-time job if my company would continue to serve LGBTQIA customers—to which I responded, “duh.” Boycotters should also educate themselves before they ask, “Why don’t you just recall Pence?” Indiana cannot recall Pence as some are calling upon the state to do; because Indiana does not allow recall votes for elected officials. So signing any petition is merely symbolic and a waste of time.

Another thing that burns my Hoosier home-style biscuits is the gall it takes for those in other states to tell us how to run our state. There is a good reason why states are empowered to elect their own officials, because the state is better equipped to make policy for its citizens than a national figure with little knowledge of state specific quirks. We Hoosiers know how to take care of ourselves, thank you.

I am hopeful that the events of the last two years will be an impetus for Hoosiers to become more politically involved and show up at the polls this time around.

In recent years, Indiana has not had a controversy of this magnitude to motivate voters to get their fingers out of the sugar cream pie and get off the couch to vote. This can be our year, Indiana. Let’s show America we deserve their business, their tourism dollars and their respect.

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