Not Just Bad for Business

Dear Arizona

Though I love my home state, these are not proud days to be an Arizona resident.

I’m talking, of course, about Senate Bill 1062, the so-called “right-to-refuse-service” legislation that has recently passed our State Senate and House of Representatives – and is currently awaiting the sign/veto decision of Governor Jan Brewer.

Over the past few days, there’s been an impressive roll call of leaders of business, tourism, economic development, religious, and many other community organizations calling for the Governor to veto this legislation.

I applaud the leaders, companies and associations willing to take a stand on this issue.  They are absolutely correct to point out that this legislation is bad for Arizona business at many levels.

But let’s recognize that this hateful, bigoted, disgusting and shameful  legislation is just a symptom of an even greater problem – and, in fairness, a situation that is not-at-all unique to the State of Arizona.

Despite all the progress that has been made (I’m thinking everything from civil rights to technological innovation), American society still has a long way to go to recognize the value of seeing the world through other people’s eyes.  We have a long way to go to respect, appreciate and celebrate the views, cultures, ideas, lifestyles, beliefs and histories of others.

And honestly, that’s why I love working in the field of arts & culture.

We are an endeavor that is ENTIRELY about fostering creativity, engaging audiences, sharing insights, valuing diversity and (especially) about exchanging ideas.  We are a pursuit essential to the functioning of a healthy democratic society.  We pursue an American ideal!

I oppose this legislation, not just because it is bad for business, but because bigotry, discrimination, fear and hate are bad for America, bad for the cause of freedom and bad for the human spirit.

# # #

Matt is on the road this Spring teaching arts & cultural leaders across the country how to get smarter, grow stronger & gain audiences.  One participant recently called his Audiences Everywhere™ workshop, “Mind-opening, rut-clearing, possibility renewing.”  Check out where & when:




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    • says

      Richard, though I resent your name-calling, I am publishing your comment in the interests of open dialogue and because I appreciate that you read my post. The point of my blog is surely that arts & cultural participation (even absent left/right politics) provides a MEANS to appreciate the perspective of others. We need MORE of that in this world – and ill-conceived legislated discrimination is an impediment to that American value.

  1. says

    Arizona’s long resistance to MLK Day is another aspect of the conservative politics in the state. The NFL even said it would move a Super Bowl out of the state if MLK Day was not officially recognized. Arizona wouldn’t comply and lost about 500 million dollars as a result. Another example of how bigotry is bad for business. The state finally came around, but AZ’s conservativeness compared to neighboring states like NM still baffles me.

    In 2000, South Carolina was the last state to recognize tMLK as a paid holiday for all state employees. Prior to this, employees could choose between celebrating Martin Luther King Day or one of three Confederate holidays.

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