If you follow the food industry or politics, you may have read an article by John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, in the Wall Street Journal a few weeks ago. The article highlights how Mackey believes our healthcare system can best be reformed. If you missed it, but would like to read it you can use this link.

In the weeks since Mackey wrote these words a group of Whole Foods fans have committed to boycotting the store. Recently some labor unions have joined in the boycott. Whole Foods shareholders are now making noises about ousting Mackey.

I don’t know about you, but the whole situation frightens me.

It grieves me to know that I live in a country where there are people so intolerant to ideas different from their own that a man can lose his job because he dared to think and speak. Clearly, Mackey has the intellect and life-experience to develop his own opinions and, more importantly, the courage to share those opinions in a public forum.

For that he is being punished? Yikes!

I hate to break it to you, but if you’re one of the Whole Foods boycotters you’re about as far from the actual definition of the word “progressive” as one can get. To truly be progressive you’ve got to be willing to listen to constructive conversation and not fly off the handle when you find yourself in disagreement. That, my friends, is how good new ideas come to fruition.

This is not an issue akin to being for or against a war or being for or against abortion. Understandably topics such as those are polarizing. In this case, nearly everyone, Mackey included, recognizes the same problem. Everyone has the same goal; to improve the quality of healthcare in America while retarding its rapidly rising cost. The concept that all ideas intended to achieve that end are not to be heard out and treated with respect is sickening, absurd, and asinine.

Mackey may or may not be on the right track. You may or may not like Whole Foods for any number of valid reasons. Regardless, Mackey does not deserve the backlash he is currently receiving. As a business owner, I’d like to believe I have the ability to express my own well thought out opinions without losing the respect and patronage of my clientele. Now I’m not so certain.

As a wise man once told me, “the price of giving everyone a voice–those who want to shout drown out those who want to talk.”