For the record, I think that this whole #StarbucksRedCup hubbub is an exaggerated controversy created only to stir up headlines, make people argue, and earn Starbucks some free publicity. Now, I’ll admit I’m not a frequent Starbucks patron. I do enjoy their coffee from time to time, particularly on road trips, but at home I tend to prefer getting my Americanos from local coffee shops.
Just in case anyone actually is outraged about this Red Cup thing, consider the fact that these cups are pieces of cardboard printed by a billion dollar company. This issue has nothing to do with “political correctness,” and everything to do with an enormous corporation that is appealing to the widest market possible, which is exactly what any enormous corporation would be expected to do.
However, I figured I might as well place my two cents in, and take this opportunity to list five things going on in the world today that are more important to discuss than whatever color, design or propaganda Starbucks chooses to adorn its cups with:
- Major diseases. Cancer, Alzheimer’s, Multiple Sclerosis, AIDS, Parkinson’s, and more. Let’s look into what research is being done to help find cures for these diseases, which impact the lives of countless people around the world. What is the toll of these diseases? Not just on the economy, but on the people who live with them, and the friend and family members of these people?
- Homelessness and poverty. As new fields of science abound, and as technology advances beyond anyone’s wildest dreams, what new solutions can be propose to help those most in need of warmth, shelter and growth opportunities? Furthermore, what social changes need to take place that would most effectively improve upon this ancient problem?
- Discrimination. Racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, religious persecution, prejudice in the workplace, social inequality, this conversation could go on for a long time, but it’s one that we need to keep having.
- Privacy concerns. In this age of unforeseen public exposure, what can we do to ensure that the world doesn’t turn into the sort of society described in books like The Circle and 1984?
- Arguing for the sake of arguing. And let’s face it, that’s exactly the lesson that this “Red Cup” nonsense really should be teaching us: as a society, we’ve become so used to outrage, back-and-forth shouting, and massive ideological disagreements that we’d rather explode at one another over trivial (or not-so-trivial) concerns than attempt to find common ground. As human beings, we should strive toward solutions. When we encounter people that we disagree with—whether politically, religiously, scientifically, or what have you—it would benefit the world immensely if everyone stopped turning a blind eye, and instead listened to the other side of every argument. Personal opinions on any issue aren’t made in a vacuum. They’re determined by any number of societal, social, and cultural factors. So instead of talking so loudly all the time, let’s try to hear what everyone has to say.
…or hey, to quote the wisdom of an oft-quoted man from many, many centuries ago:
It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.