Stay in Your Lane

Yesterday, I shared a short video of Megyn Kelly wherein she vowed to march against the policies of Apple if they removed her from their platform for supporting women’s rights. Along with the link, I indicated that I’d stand with her, (or march, if it came to that,) and asked the group who would join us. Most agreed that the underlying issues – free speech and women’s rights – were worth defending and answered in the affirmative. But many others did not. Consider this love letter, from Jessica Pranger.

“Nope, not for one second would I stand next to this farce of a woman. Mike, your desperate grabs at popularity are embarrassing. Stay in your lane, please. I thank you in advance for not inserting your bullcrap pandering for women in any other scenario that includes women. You don’t belong and you most certainly are not choosing the right woman to be in complete support of. She is a brainwashed, phobic, fear driven, fear mongering blow hard… much like the faction you love pandering to so much. You and your ilk are so off base that I am actually embarrassed for you.”

Hi Jessica
Thanks for your response, and thanks for following this page. Obviously, you’re not the only one to dislike Megyn Kelly, and you are certainly not the only one to admonish me for wandering “outside my lane.” The question is, do you care at all about the underlying issues? If not, that’s okay, but if you’re going to share your feelings with 6 million people, why not take a moment to include some actual thoughts? Specifically, some thoughts on the right to speak freely, and the right for women to compete fairly? Those are the issues in question, not your feelings about Megyn or me. Unless of course, your feelings are the only thing you have to share?

You say that Megyn is not the “right” woman to follow, or offer my “complete support” to. I didn’t say that Megyn has my “complete support.” All I said was that I’d stand with her on the underlying issues; just as I would stand with you, if you were muzzled by a big tech company for publicly supporting the rights of women. (For the record, if there is one, I support the right of adults who wish to medically transition from one sex to another. I do not, however, believe that biological females should be compelled to compete or shower with biological males.)
As for your personal comments about Megyn Kelly, I don’t share your view that she is a “farce” of woman, but even if I did, I’d support her right to speak freely, and her daughter’s right to use a locker room free of biological men. Do you? Who knows? You haven’t said. All you’ve argued here, is that I’m pandering to women. You seem to believe that because I’m not a woman, I have no right to hold an opinion on anything related to women. If so, am I also precluded from expressing an opinion on slavery, simply because I’ve never been a slave, or owned a slave? You advise me to “stay in my lane” in much the same way people used to tell women and minorities to “know their place.” That strikes me as a convenient way for people to silence those with whom they disagree, without offering an actual argument.

I get it. The world is tired of celebrities using their platforms to weigh in on the headlines. It’s painful, (for me, anyway) to listen to Alec Baldwin talk about his views on a great many topics. Why? Because Alec Baldwin is a funny and talented actor whose work I enjoy immensely. His opinions, however, have made it difficult for me to enjoy his work. Not impossible, just difficult. Why then, would a celebrity, or a company for that matter, knowingly put their fans and customers in such a position? Why did Bud Light make it so hard for so many of their customers to support them? Why did Target? As I type this, I see that Alice Cooper has been dropped by a cosmetics company for suggesting that children are not in a position to decide for themselves what gender they are. And poor Carlos Santana…he doesn’t know what to do. A few weeks ago, he declared during a concert, “a man is a man, and a woman is woman.” The outrage was swift, and Carlos issued a lengthy apology on Facebook. But two days ago, he removed his apology, and replaced it with a poem! So, did Carlos Santana wander outside his lane? Did Alice Cooper? Alec Baldwin? Bud Lite? Target? Or, did they all take a highly principled position on a topic that mattered deeply to them, and exercise their first amendment rights?

As the CEO of a non-partisan, apolitical foundation that deals with issues surrounding workforce and education, it’s not in my interest to upset you or anyone else. And so, for the most part, I have limited my comments to workforce and education. But I’m also a citizen, Jessica, like you. And like you, I’m worried about our county. I’m worried that people have become increasingly unable to separate the message from the messenger. I’m worried that we’ve entered into a time when the experts disagree on every serious topic, where journalism has been replaced almost entirely by editorial partisanship, and everyone on both sides of every issue believes the “science has been settled” in whatever way confirms their own beliefs. Climate change, Covid, mask and vaccine mandates, immigration, homelessness, transgender rights, criminal justice, reparations…the certainty is everywhere. Mostly though, I’m worried that people – and corporations – are determined to silence the opposition, rather than make any attempt to persuade, or even put forth a rational argument.

If you were on this page twelve years ago, you know that I was boycotted by a big trade organization called the TRSA. Basically, the Textile Service and Rental Association was upset with me because I had “wandered outside of my lane,” and participated in a campaign that promoted disposable shop towels. Because they represent thousands of workers who clean dirty textiles – tablecloths, napkins, hospital bedding, and so forth – they objected to any kind of disposable alternative, and demanded that I apologize for participating in an endeavor that jeopardized the livelihood of their members. When I refused to apologize, or distance myself from the people who hired me, the TRSA published a list of everyone I did business with – Discovery, Ford, Wrangler, Caterpillar, Viva, and Kimberly Clarke – and then called for a general boycott of all things related to Mike Rowe. In short, they tried to silence me, and then they tried to destroy me. It scared the hell out of me, and I fought back – on this very page – and they eventually went away. I wonder, though, what would happen today? And to be clear, I’d prefer not to find out. But not if it means forgoing my right to speak freely, or standing by, while women’s fundamental rights are being cast aside, or being told to shut up or else.

To sum up, Jessica, this page is “my lane,” and you are a guest on it. To be sure, you’ve said some rude and unpersuasive things, but I would never ban you or block you for those reasons. On the other hand, it’s worth remembering that this page is not really my property. This page belongs to Facebook, and you and I are both here with their permission. Tell me, if they were to close “my lane” because of this post, would you object? Would you join me in protest? Or would you celebrate my banishment?

That was the question inherent in Megyn Kelly’s video. I’ve answered it as best I can. You should, too.
Mike’s Facebook Page

August 28, 2023

If it comes to that, I’d march with her. Would you?
“I will Make them a Bud Light.” ” Megyn Kelly Dares Companies to Cancel Her Over Pro-Woman Position.
Mike’s Facebook Page