I’m sure most of you have heard all about the recent kerfuffle between the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation and Planned Parenthood. This episode will likely be used in business schools in the future as an example of how not to do something. But there are a couple of take-home messages for all of us in this:
- All tax-exempt organizations, particularly churches and charities, should stay the hell out of politics. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.
- If you make a blatantly political move, don’t then lie and claim that it isn’t political at all, especially when there are former employees around who resigned over the move. Or incriminating evidence on the internet.
- The real “mama grizzlies” are the millions of American women (and men) who spend most of their time dealing with real issues and don’t tend to pay much attention to politics until it directly affects them. Too many people have a close friend or family member affected by breast cancer to let Komen get away with pulling a fast one.
- Charities as big business is a bad idea. Large scale charities in this country are just too temping a target for being taken over by greedy or ideology-driven individuals or organizations. They are the televangelists of this decade.
- The only reason the conservative far-right doesn’t completely own this country is that they are generally shallow-minded people with delusions of competence (e.g., George W Bush, Sarah Palin) or completely self centered, borderline sociopathic egomaniacs (e.g., Donald Trump, Newt Gingrich) — or both.
UPDATE: It is not clear whether or not Komen is still trying to pull a fast one.
UPDATE 2: It also appears that this is not the first time that Komen has bowed to right-wing pressure. Not only do they not like Planned Parenthood, they don’t like embryonic stem cell research, another conservative hot button.
UPDATE 3: A great rant about Komen, Pinkwashing, and how cancer is big business.
The singular thing that has struck me as the most ironic through this whole ordeal is a right-wing defense that the foundation can do anything they want because they are a “private” entity. It baffles me that they can bend over backwards to paint things they hate as “public” and things they like as “private.”
Excellent summary — thanks for the links.
You know, by Komen standards, $680,000 is not big money. Amazing that they were willing to commit PR suicide over such a small amount. It’s going to cost them far more to attempt to regain public confidence — and I don’t think they can.
I’ve been fascinated for years at how Americans have let Komen become an unquestioned part of the fabric of our society — really, far more than any other charity. Those days are over. Don’t you now have the same deep automatic “ick” reaction I do?
Gotta say, there’s a wonderful side to this as well. The wingnuts have been getting their way for years because they seemed to be the only segment of the population that was willing to express anger. I’m thinking that the back-to-back successes of public outrage at the PIPA assault on the internet and now Komen are mighty refreshing — the real majority is finding its voice.
Good point. The internet really does change everything. Hopefully the days are gone when powerful organization can do things like this on the hush-hush and expect that nobody will notice.
The very reason that I prefer to give to smaller non-profits and local affiliates if possible.