I apologize in advance for the lack of updates recently, I’ve been caught up in Olympic Mania and have kept a small watchful eye on the political world but haven’t dedicated enough time to write a blog post.
The fast food restaurant, Chick-Fil-A has found itself in hot water recently over the actions of the comments made by Chief Operating Officer Dan Cathy regarding his stance on marriage equality. For those who have never heard the quote, Cathy told The Ken Coleman Show that:
I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.’ I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.
Now, it should come as no surprise that Chick-Fil-A is a corporation that is proud of its Christian beliefs given it’s numerous donations over the years to special interest groups such as the James Dobson founded Focus On The Family and it’s policy that all stores must be closed on Sundays. So really, Cathy’s comments aren’t all that shocking in the grand scheme of things.
But they are certainly controversial. Cathy’s comments faced derision from the left and of course angered the gay community. Cathy’s comments also led to the Mayors of Boston and Chicago to vehemently disparage Chick-Fil-A and even ban them from entering their cities. So yes, Dan Cathy certainly caused a firestorm.
The first question is of course, “doesn’t Dan Cathy have the right to say whatever he wants? This is America after all”. Yes, Cathy has every right to believe what he wants and he can say them on whichever medium he chooses. No one is advocating Cathy’s arrest or termination, though.
However, by putting on the record and in the mainstream, Cathy willingly put himself in the national conversation over marriage equality in the United States of America. So therefore Cathy has every right to criticize gay people but he also has every right to be criticized. The First Amendment doesn’t exist to just give people an excuse to say anything they want without fear of reprimand. If that were the case then no one could be fired for blasting their bosses online or be imprisoned for making a death threat or a fake 911 phone call.
So yes, you have the right to say whatever you want but it doesn’t grant you immunity from being blasted nor boycotted against. If you are a believer that Cathy should say whatever he chooses to say based on his morals, then you have to be a firm believer that angered consumers can launch their own boycotts to not eat at places that go against their morals. You can not simply sit on both sides of the fence on this issue.
This also brings us to people who claim that being against Chick-Fil-A somehow makes you a socialist or something similar to that. Now, while I am astounded at how unaware a majority of Americans are when regarding different theories of economics and government; this is the bane (no pun intended) of why capitalism is so great. Do you not like something? Well guess what, you can take your business somewhere else.
What is most disturbing about this controversy is the fact that it shows how highly politically-charged the nation at this moment. All cultural issues from the Paterno Statue being taken down to the killing of Trayvon Martin all appear to have political battle lines that have been drawn. It seems that our simple existence as a nation is to play contrarian to whatever side the “enemies” are against. So, yes, modern conservatism seems to be just essentially contrarianism.
Now, social media is the best medium to look at when you want an instant reaction. Anyone who has tried to stay away from Olympic spoilers know fully well that Twitter is the absolute last place you want to be throughout the daytime. Still though if you happened to check Twitter yesterday you would’ve seen that “#chickfila” and “Chick-Fil-A’ were both trending nationally for the majority of the day as August 1st was “Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day”, where conservatives pledged their unwavering support to the fast food giant.
As a proud and avid user of Facebook and Twitter, I got to sort of see the reactions of both sides of the aisle. Again, battle lines were drawn as my more progressive friends blasted Chick-Fil-A for it’s anti-gay marriage stance and the opposite happened when dealing with friends who ally themselves with the conservative aisle of the political spectrum.
There did seem to be one common trend amongst the Chick-Fil-A patrons though. You almost got the feeling that they weren’t necessarily bragging about eating the food, but moreso bragging about “showing the liberals what was up” as one of my friends confidently stated. Another wrote that “Chick-Fil-A needs OUR support” which sort of made me laugh as I thought that Chick-Fil-A should probably not have donated millions of dollars to special interest groups if they didn’t want to incite a controversy.
As a straight male in a relationship, I was advised by another straight male that “it doesn’t matter to us” which was probably one of the worst defenses of Chick-Fil-A that I probably ever read.
Still, the sort of braggadocio that surrounded those who chose to eat at Chick-Fil-A definitely got myself thinking. Was this really a day to appreciate the “Christian values” of the restaurant or was it simply something to do to instill some sense of shock value to people?
Again going back to contrarianism, some citizens just like to be on the opposite side of a controversy for the simple fact that it sparks controversy again. To a degree, I think we witnessed that yesterday as some people almost liked viewing themselves as some sort of internet martyr for the First Amendment that they don’t fully seem to comprehend.
Others by choosing to eat and brag about eating there engaged in a sort of financial version of supporting homophobia. I’m not saying if you ate there yesterday on your lunch break that you are a homophobe at all, but if you are openly bragging about it; odds are you are more than likely someone to deserve backlash.
I don’t really have that many Chick-Fil-A locations in my area, so it would be about a 15-minute drive for me to go there and express my support if I had any. So me “boycotting” Chick-Fil-A would be equivalent to me boycotting a city in Hawaii that I’ll never go to. There is one on my college campus, which I’ve checked out a grand total of 3 times in two years so again, I am not making this big sacrifice for the sake of the nation.
One day I might eat at a Chick-Fil-A again and I probably won’t think twice about it. Again just playing the odds, I’ll likely see a few of my progressive friends grab a milkshake or a chicken sandwich there and won’t judge them for doing such. It is a shame when something as simple as a chicken sandwich becomes a national subject of political, religious and social controversy. Still, the fact of the matter is; that Dan Cathy opened himself up for criticism and on the flip side praise by entering the discussion on the record.
The way that Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum say it, would make you think that Dan Cathy was being held against his will at gunpoint by the US Government for believing that marriage should remain an institution between a man and a woman. He isn’t.
Dan Cathy is not a victim in this. Neither is Christianity or conservatism. Heck, even Chick-Fil-A isn’t as it reportedly had a record-breaking day in terms of business yesterday.
The true victims are the ones who simply want to be recognized as equal and instead were spit on by a large chunk of the nation yesterday.
But I’m sure they are proud of themselves.