No, Amazon will not select Indianapolis for its new headquarters.

My fellow Hoosiers;

As much as I would like it to not be true – Amazon will not select Indianapolis as its headquarters.

We have an ideal geographical location, an above average airport, and an able-bodied workforce. But Indianapolis will be passed over because of our intolerant cultural. That’s not to say all Hoosiers are intolerant, but one need only look that the legislative activities and statements by our elected officials to understand the problem.

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) fiasco that occurred in 2015 is the highest profile, recent example of the incompatibility between the state’s parochial, judgmental societal attitudes, and the business world. Remember that RFRA caused Salesforce to ban travel to the state[1] and is estimated to have cost us $60 million in convention business.[2] People don’t want to do business in a state that shows such intolerance. Like people, businesses have memories, and the memory of Governor Pence gleefully signing RFRA into law is indelible.

But, it’s not actually about tolerance. Tolerating something implies that there is, well, something to be tolerated – something that is intrinsically wrong. The real issue is acceptance – accepting people for who they are and accepting that someone doesn’t have to look like me, think like me, or believe what I believe. There’s a key difference. People can be forced to be tolerant or laws can make their intolerance a criminal act.

On the other hand, acceptance is not something that can be legislated. It must come from the hearts and minds that make up a culture. It is effortless and natural. And that’s why Indiana will never win the Amazon headquarters bid. Cultures change at a glacial speed and require some catalyst for any change to be possible. No such catalyst exists in Indiana. Sadly, if past is prologue, the electorate will continue to elect officials who believe that it is right and proper to codify their religious beliefs and morals into law.

Indiana will not lose Amazon because of an inadequate infrastructure or unfavorable geographical location. The state is very, very strong in the physical and financial domains. No, Amazon will never come to Indiana because there’s a fundamental clash between the culture of acceptance at Amazon and the prevailing culture of intolerance in Indiana.

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Governor Mike Pence signing  the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) into law.

[1] https://www.indystar.com/story/money/2015/04/02/salesforce-packed-punch-galvanizing-rfra-opposition/70842680/

[2] https://www.indystar.com/story/news/politics/2016/01/25/official-rfra-cost-indy-up-12-conventions-and-60m/79328422/

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