It’s been about a week since we all stopped to take a second look at Wal-Mart. Yes, Wal-Mart, watchword for American imperialist evil for decades, villain of countless books, documentaries and feature stories, silent shadowy hand of evil in so many more (think about it: where did Michael Moore buy bullets in Bowling for Columbine?), suddenly an outspoken and vehement supporter of health care reform. Huh? (In other total oddities, they now sell Kosher meat, under OU supervision.)
If for some reason you missed this, the super-mega discount chain/evil empire/redneck Mecca took a break from screwing wage workers and quashing unions to become the Goliath hero of socialized medicine. Awesome? Or just a red herring for more dastardly business?
Probably both. With the recession giving it a boost , Wal-Mart can afford to shoulder a cause unpopular with its base (socialism) because, well, it’s time. After all, Wal-Mart knows better than anyone, recessions don’t last forever. A surge of good press won’t do a lot now, when people don’t really have a choice. But a strong stand on a serious liberal issue could help them in the long run. Seriously, have you ever been inside a Wal-Mart? If you live in one of the densely populated, liberal urban centers like New York City or the SF Bay Area, chances are probably not. That’s because they’ve been zoned into places like Richmond, CA and Long Island, where you’re not about to shop if you live on Manhattan or the Peninsula. Wal-Mart busted into Amristar before it made it to the Big Apple. We’ll keep you posted on the Smiley Face’s progress in India–and