A Little Bit of Something Is More Than a Whole Lot of Nothing
Joe Roberts Takes a Stand
Among those that follow politics and culture in the United States, there is often a cynicism that sets in when the realization surfaces that there is very little you can do about this or that. In my experience, this feeling of helplessness often metastasizes into lashing out into ad hominem assaults, concentrating furioiusly on posting memes on social media or retreating to the political edges where folks do offer solutions, but the kind of solutions that are likely the subject matter of the “X-Files”.
Which brings me to Joe Roberts.
Many in and around the wine world will know this name. Joe is among the OG wine bloggers whose 1WineDude Blog consistently publishes ideas, opinions, observations and lots of wine reviews. His wine blog still operates today and his work is respected in all corners.
A few days ago, in the wake of the Supreme Court’s abortion ruling, Joe posted this to Facebook, LinkedIn and other Social Media platforms:
My first reaction was, “heh, that’s not gonna make much difference.” But despite being right about this, I started to give it more thought.
In 2017, the state of California banned public employees from traveling on state business to states that it says have laws that discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. To date, 18 states fall under this ban including Texas, Florida and Ohio. This is not the most the state of California could do to advance its agenda, but it’s not nothing either.
It’s not nothing.
Either is Joe’s new refusal to review wines from states advancing abortion bans.
I and everyone else are constantly urged from all quarters to not buy this product, to no longer enjoy that artist’s work, and to stop interacting with that person. We are told, It’s important in bringing about change. We are told if everyone took significant action things would change.
Joe’s actions inevitably result in folks indicting him for not taking similar action for other offenses. “Why not stop tasting X wines because of this?” Or, “I notice you are still reviewing X wines despite that.”
I’m not one of those folks.
We are not hypocrites for not taking every action in our power to oppose an offense. We are pragmatic. We have lives that require something other and something more than checking the moral standing of every company from whom we buy goods, of every producer whose goods we buy, or every person who takes a political or ethical position different than ours.
The least we can do is never the worst we can do and the least we can do is often far more than most people do. And, the least we can do is certainly something. Joe has chosen something.
But there is another benefit to Joe’s decision to cut off wines from states that ban abortion. It’s possible that others in the same business as Joe might decide to take the same action. It isn’t unheard of for wine bloggers to influence the mainstream wine media in any number of ways. You never know what the Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast, Vinous, Wine Advocate or the new Wine Independent might do upon seeing Joe’s actions.
If you are anti-abortion and disagree with Joe’s actions, you can still appreciate his commitment to something. You may laugh at the impact his Reviews Ban will have, but I promise his actions will be more than the great majority of his ideological critics will ever do…on any issue.
If all of us did the very least we can do, we could change the world.