As I am watching my Twitter and Facebook feed, I am struck by the number of people proudly proclaiming that they purchased a sandwich because they wanted to uphold “Traditional American Values.” Can you imagine the absurdity of such a statement? “Hey Bob, why are you eating those curly fries? BECAUSE I LOVE FREEDOM, THAT’S WHY!” Yet, people seem to be lining up to go to Chick-Fil-A in a show of support for the embattled franchise after its owner basically said “I hate gays and God does too.”
Now, I am not interested in a discussion of gay rights or bigotry. I hope, at this point, that I have made it clear that the thoughts of Chick-Fil-A COO, Dan Cathy, are backwards and wrong; furthermore, I feel that the Right’s need to defend Cathy’s statements come from sense that they are loosing the overall battle on gay rights and that this eat-in is one of the many growing examples of the Right circling the wagons around the few remaining people who freely display their bigotry.
But, that is not the point of this post. The real point is that, up until about two weeks ago, most people didn’t even know that anyone at Chick-Fil-A held such feelings and that (up until two weeks ago) breaded chicken wasn’t a political issue (setting aside KFC’s Double Down, and its obvious implications on the Affordable Health Care Act).
Personally, I was aware of the fact that Chick-Fil-A often contributed to anti-LGBT organisations and, as such, usually avoided eating there – but this was a personal decision that didn’t need to be publicized. Furthermore, if someone asked, I would tell them that Chick-Fil-A didn’t fit with my values, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to do so.
The crux of my complaint is the phoniness people are displaying about the whole issue. If you choose not to support Chick-Fil-A after hearing the statements of Cathy, that is fine; likewise, if supporting Chick-Fil-A suddenly became an important business for you to support after these events, that is your right to do so. But don’t pretend you are some kind of moral crusader because you do or do not eat at a fast food chain. As the saying goes, people need to vote with their feet, not for a day or a week, but over the lifetime of the company.
And that is the important thing to keep in mind - Chick-Fil-A is a company that makes decisions based on what it believes are best. In a truly competitive market, the company must do what it needs to do to retain and grow profits – if a company wishes to wade into the political realm, they must pay the public relations price if and when such activities hit the public’s radar. But boycotting or buying sandwiches for a day achieves nothing – and anyone who thinks it does is either an idiot or an ideologue (but I repeat myself).
Should we have a discussion about LGBT rights? Absolutely. Should we have a debate about corporate money in politics? Of course. Can we discuss the hypocrisy of Christian ideals to “judge not” while pulling stunts like this? Sure, throw it in. But are our politics so broken as to require overly politicizing the purchase of a #4?