Wednesday, August 1, 2012
So it seems the fast-food industry has now become the new battleground for politics in the United States. No, Mike Bloomberg hasn’t put a hit out on Ronald McDonald...yet. No this time is was the CEO of Chick-fil-A, Dan T. Cathy, who a few days ago proclaimed his opposition to gay marriage – setting off a debate not only on gay marriage but also freedom of speech across the country.
Since his proclamation, groups supporting gay marriage have issued statements condemning Chick-fil-A and its CEO, calling for boycotts and the ultimate failure of the company. In fact his proclamation even prompted the Jim Henson Company to announce that they would sever ties with the company, even though they’ve had a relationship for many years.
When I first heard what the CEO of Chick-fil-A said regarding gay marriage I wasn’t really all that shocked. The last time I was in a Chick-fil-A was about ten years ago and I then remember hearing Christian music playing in the lobby and I noticed they were closed on Sundays – I assumed to acknowledge the Christian Sabbath.
I thought the CEO, making such a personal opinion public, was selfish at best, considering the backlash it opened up to all of his employees from those who don’t agree with him. At worse, it speaks to the foolishness of a business decision that does nothing but alienating its consumers – some of the same consumers who’ve probably been patrons for years, simply because the CEO had to make a grand political statement. Sure it’s well within his rights, but you’re selling chicken man. You’re not changing the world one nugget at a time. If you were in business to make grand political statements versus making a profit then you’d be giving your chickens on a biscuit away for free, no?
What I always find amazing is how some of us fall comfortably into our little boxes with the predetermined views that we use to define and separate ourselves from one another. It’s one of the reasons why I consider myself a Libertarian. My views aren’t easily sorted and collated. I’m not your typical demographic. I can’t be ‘expected’ to follow marching orders; voting a certain way like a good little lemming. I hate being grouped and I certainly don’t fall in line with what “the cool people” think. Democrats I’m pretty sure don’t like me thinking that I’m probably a Republican and Republicans think I should be more like them - if I only had a brain- and yes you can hum the tune to that, I did.
What really annoys me about this poultry fiasco is the rampant hypocrisy being volleyed back and forth – by each side. You have a few groups here, all vying to scale the summit of the socially conscious mountaintop. Take for instance those who are so incensed by Chick-fil-A’s stance that they’re setting up rallies against the company around the country. Just as the CEO of the company was within his rights to make his statement, the folks who disagree are well within their rights to do so as well.
But it would be nice if they were consistent with their ire. It was just a few months ago that President Obama had the very same opinion regarding same sex marriage until he rightfully changed his mind – whether due to convictions or softening polls with his base is debatable. Where was this group then? Where was the outrage? Quite selective.
Most of us drive a vehicle or are driven by vehicles. Over 50% of the oil the United States uses comes from OPEC nations. Countries such as Saudi Arabia have prosecuted homosexuals for their orientation and Iran in particular has put men and women to death for the crime of being homosexual. In fact while giving a speech at the UN, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denied the very existence of homosexuals in Iran all together. I have yet to see a rally at my local Mobil station decrying that however.
Look I get it; we rely on fuel. It’s the lifeblood of our economy and it’s vital to our way of life. But that doesn’t change the facts and because it would put a crimp in many lifestyles, some choose to take on the evil incarnate that is a fast food joint. It’s very easy and awfully convenient to thump your chest and scream at the top of your lungs at a ridiculous decision some owner of a company made – a company that has about 1600 locations in 39 states. But if that decision enrages you how can you justify in ANY way the use of OPEC supplied oil? If you’re going to have righteous indignation shouldn’t it be somewhat consistent? Or at least look as if you’re being consistent? Some people are consistent and walk the walk, but so many others are playing this up far more than the coverage it deserves.
Then you have those who are calling for a ‘Chick-fil-A Day’, an idea spawned by the former Arkansas governor – no, not that one – Mike Huckabee. Even Sarah Palin, the dimmest bulb in the GOP LiteBrite playset made it a point to head to a Chick-fil-A and snap a Twitter pic with her husband, giving the thumbs up. You betcha! It reeks of an Al Sharpton move – total ambulance chasing – and in Palin’s case, in the name of “American Values”. Sorry I call BS. It reeks of cheap personal gratification politics.
I also get annoyed when the argument is made that marriage is an ‘institution’, to be respected and honored and somehow homosexuals will somehow sully that. Yeah, let’s see the divorce rate for first marriages in the US is between 41 to 50%. Second marriage divorce rates are between 60 and 67% and the third time is certainly not the charm as the rate is between 73 and 74%. But somehow, heterosexuals are showing marriage great deference and respect and I didn’t even bring up the Kim Kardashians or Britney Spears of the world.
Everyone needs to step back for a moment and stop trying to win the award for the most socially conscious citizen in America. Chick-fil-A isn’t the reason gay marriage isn’t becoming more accepted. The reality is - it is. But to those who want to equate religious beliefs automatically with oppression are doing a disservice. I was raised a Roman Catholic. I did the whole Catholic grade school thing. I have many issues with the Catholic Church. I believe Jesus didn’t judge school children by what their parent’s net worth was. I believe Jesus drank out of a carpenter’s cup and not the 24 karat gold jewel incrusted joke the Pope sips out of at each mass. Those who claim gay marriage is going to unravel society as we know it need to admit to themselves that the very institutions they hold dear have done far greater damage to society than whether or not Ellen should be allowed to marry Portia. It’s time for people to stop listening to the masses, the groups, the parties, the churches, the states, and start listening to themselves and what is inside themselves. You are your best judge of what is right and wrong. Never forget that.