It would be hard to find a company or a brand that was more unifying … more positive in its messaging than Disney. Disneyland was credibly labeled “the happiest place on earth.” It was a corporate kingdom devoted to keeping the best of childhood fantasies alive for generations of young kids – and adults.
From cartoons … to animated feature films … to movies … to television … to amusement parks … to toys … to games. The family-friendly Disney imagery was ubiquitous. Above all, Disney products were not only not controversial – they were beyond controversy. Very few things in the American culture were as unifying as Disney.
Not so today.
Despite its high standards and devotion to innocence, Disney gradually succumbed to the divisive influences of political correctness, identity politics and wokeness. These are all the pillars of cultural tribalism. The early attacks on the Disney company were in the form of attacks on Walt Disney, himself. He was accused of being a racist … a homophobe … an antisemite. That made him a target of the growing anti-American movement.
I cannot know the depth of any prejudices Disney may have had, but I can say for certain that they were not reflected in his work. There was no political subtext. Disney created positive innocent messages for the entertainment of innocent kids. Disney was not a political activist or hatemonger.
Disney’s genius and his body of work should be judged apart from any human foibles – much as we honor Werner Von Braun for putting America into space despite his Nazi background. And that background was a LOT worse than Disney. It is the same type of thinking that the fact that our Founders owned slaves trumps the amazing work they performed in creating the America Republic.
Increasingly, the folks who have taken over Disney have put the company into the center of America’s social and political controversies – and they took the side of those who condemn America’s traditional values.
Their global anti-American bent has been underscored by the action they took in conjunction with the Company’s 67th anniversary. They have removed language from the traditional video of Walt Disney that – in their judgment – is too patriotic. Here is what they deleted:
“To all who come to this happy place: welcome. Disneyland is your land. Here age relives fond memories of the past, and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future. Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams, and the hard facts that have created America, with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to the world.”
It is contemptible that an American company so steeped in American culture and tradition – a company that truly gave joy and happiness to the world — would succumb to the anti-American far-left culture of the moment.
It is impossible to comprehend how any fair-minded, decent, and patriotic people could arrive at this decision. Perhaps those at the helm of Disney today are not fair-minded, decent, and patriotic people.
So, there ‘tis.