Before this week I’d never eaten at Chick Fil-A. After this week I’ll never eat at Chick Fil-A.
There are only two nearby. One by USC and one across the street from Hollywood High. Neither are exactly convenient for me and the point of fast food is that it’s fast. Given the opportunity to dine at the Chick Fil-A near USC after some event I passed knowing they’d given money to organizations I find galling. It hardly seemed like a big deal at the time. Nope, my 6 bucks went to some other heart clogging, obesity inducing joint. I’ve also driven past Shell stations when I needed gas and chosen Pizza Hut over Dominos. Shell was up to no good somewhere at the time and if memory serves the owner of Domino’s and I disagreed about abortion rights.
I’ve no illusions here. AT ALL. No one at Shell missed my 20 bucks. And I did fill up somewhere. Who knows what the company that got my cash was doing in the depths of Africa. To add to the gray area I love my Apple stuff, even at a few generations old. We know working conditions for Apple’s Chinese employees could use an upgrade. So what gives? Am I a hypocrite? I guess. Sort of. Marriage equality is more important to me than Chinese workers. There. I said it. I don’t spend money at Chick Fil-A because I don’t want to participate in that – even in the slightest way. My “boycotts” are subjective and personal. I know this. They do help me remember that I have guiding principles in a gray world. But I’m not a fool. I bet a run through of my debit card statement over the past 6 months would produce a cornucopia of purchases from multi national companies who support those I do not. So I’m a bit uncomfortable with all the Smug High Horsery over a fast food joint. It all feels like agit prop theater.
The cold-blooded truth is Mr. Cathy has every right to his retrograde opinions. Further, he has the right to dump his cash into bigoted organizations. I have every right to skip his Waffle Fries. So I do. My position is really no different that those in the mobs who showed up today to buy chicken nuggets. They buy to make a point, I don’t to make a point.
However, when I saw the images of cars full of chunky Americans lined up, waiting for hours to make a statement via the purchase of a Spicy Chicken Deluxe Sandwich all I could think was…Well, we’ve come to a pathetic little pass haven’t we? Political pugilism via poultry.
Anyone who is newly upset about Cathy’s opinion on marriage equality has not been paying attention. What’s really going on here is that – once again – gay rights supporters got gamed by politicians. A couple of mayors and an alderman stated an intention that’s self evidently illegal. Conservatives got some red meat to chew…ironically in this instance. Then without thinking (do any liberals think anymore?) gay rights supporters got wound up because, you know, if Todd Palin ate there it must be bad! What followed is today’s anti-boycott, which will be followed on Friday by gay kiss ins – at which we’ll mostly see cute young gay men smooching at Chick Fil-A registers. (This will both enrage and excite legions of evangelical pastors.) As you know, once gay men reach forty they are sent out to pasture, also known as Palm Springs, or morph into Paul Lynde.
Then we shall retreat to our bunkers and await another dog whistle.
Meanwhile, the entire debate on marriage equality is degraded, sucked into the peculiar American insanity of industrialized food. There’s no dignity or honor in any of this. Jackasses on the Left, tweak dis-empowered, dumb asses on the Right into thinking buying corporate chicken sandwiches is empowering, which then provokes degrading idiocy on the Left.
In my book, Chick Fil-A supports awful, damaging organizations. Nevertheless, they get to sell chicken. Those who oppose how Chick Fil-A spends its profits get to raise hell – if that is how they think equality is achieved. It’s not. But people are free waste time if they like. Another, saner choice is to accept Cathy’s right to his opinion, avoid getting caught up in the asinine stunts of a Chicago Alderman, then do something productive and inspiring that does not center around dead chickens.
Final horrify thought: What if the C.E.O. of Long John Silver’s comes out in support of gay marriage? Will I have to gorge on popcorn shrimp combos to prove I’m for equal rights?
- Chick-Fil-A Sandwiches Become Political Symbol (huffingtonpost.com)
- Chick-fil-A store breaks with founder to sponsor LGBT Pride (rawstory.com)
- This Chicken Fight Won’t Hatch Real Change (thecollegeconservative.com)