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What Do You Stand For – and Do You Have the Right to Defend It?

What Do You Stand For – and Do You Have the Right to Defend It?

Freedom. It’s a basic tenant of “the American Dream” and a universal need in the human psyche. We crave the freedom to express our personal style in the way we dress, to express our spirituality in where and how we worship. We expect to have the freedom to choose our country’s laws and leaders through democratic process and the freedom to move across the nation without impediment. But perhaps the freedom we guard most passionately is the freedom to stand up for what we believe is right. But let’s say you are a business person, or maybe you’re a decision maker for a mega-brand, does the individual’s freedom of expression trump your right to take a stand? And how much influence does or should public opinion have in the determination of “right.” There have been some interesting examples to learn from. Phil Robertson caused an outcry from A&E, the network that carried his family’s reality show, Duck Dynasty, when he made statements that the network found unacceptable. But following the network’s announcement that they planned to suspend the outspoken Mr. Robertson came an outcry from viewers. A&E, they said, was violating Mr. Robertson’s freedom of speech by penalizing him for stating his beliefs in public. Mr. Robertson was reinstated. Cracker Barrel found themselves in a bit of a predicament over that incident as well. The company first said that it was concerned about offending guests by carrying products with the Duck Dynasty brand, and then reversed that decision in the hue and cry that followed. End result; all was restored. Mr. Robertson went back to his show and Cracker...