Politics Most Fowl
I’m going to come right out and say this:
I don’t like Chick-Fil-A.
I mean, I really don’t like their sandwiches. I’m pretty sure no one but me cares, and that’s fine.
No, I’m not just piling on the little guy (if a corporation can be a “little guy;” Citizens United be damned), and I would die for the company’s president to say whatever damnfool, hateful nonsense he wants. This is America, and both religion and speech are still free, even inhumane and cruel religion and stupid, self-serving speech. I just think their chicken tastes like crap.
But in the noise and the furor over the statements and counter-statements, the protests and counter-protests, I only have a few things to add, all of which are unsophisticated and not worth arguing over.
1) Boycotts work. If you don’t agree with a company’s politics or actions, don’t give them another dime. Yes, the first place they feel it is in local franchisees, and that’s maybe not whom you want to hurt when you drive on past. But corporate offices sure as hell notice boycotts, and they are incredibly powerful tools of protest.
2) Be kind to the people who work for the corporation you’re targeting with your protest. I’d be willing to guess that there are a lot of people who work for Chick-Fil-A who work there because it’s a job. They’re mainly college kids trying to scrape up tuition money for next semester, senior citizens whose Social Security wouldn’t keep them in food AND meds, and a whole bunch of underemployed people who just need a steady income as they come out the other end of the financial disaster we’ve just weathered.
They’re not anti-gay; they don’t value anyone less than another. (Though there is this, which is a little weird.) They’re scared as hell that someone’s going to belly up to their counter today and release a spew of bile and invective at them, and hold them accountable for something beyond their ken. And that spew goes both ways. Imagine the pain of having to suffer through some bigot’s tirade about gays going to hell, followed immediately by an irate liberal’s rant about how they’re a horrible human being for taking a paycheck from a company that crushes the dreams of little gay boys and girls.
I get queasy just thinking about that level of confrontation, all day every day.
So, if you want to make a big scene, for god’s sake, don’t drop a glitterbomb on the counter at a Chick-Fil-A. Some kid with developmental disabilities, on loan from the local group home, is going to have to sweep up every single flake before he can claim his discounted, hours-old, half-cold, slowly-lethal chicken lunch in the janitorial closet. That’s the way fast food works, and you’re not punishing the right person.
Just got to make a point? Grab your best friend, ask to see the manager, kiss that friend right on the mouth, and tell them that you love everyone. And then go home and cook dinner for your family.
Correction: Don’t just kiss your friend–hug the manager. Tell him/her how sorry you are that the company owner put their business in this position. Then donate the cost of your meal to one of the marriage equality fights in the country right now (in Washington, Maryland, and Minnesota). And THEN cook dinner for your loved ones.
Thank you for saying this. Though you and I are often diametrically opposed where politics are concerned, I find I agree with you 100% on this one.
I’ll take it one step further.
Money is speech. We may not like it, but there it is. Where you do or don’t spend your money, and where you do or don’t donate it – that’s speech. If enough people who agree with you give money to the groups you support, you’ll make headway. If not, maybe he will. That’s the way it goes.
Thank you for reminding people to treat the company employees kindly. They’re not paid to take random people’s anger at corporate decisions in which they had NO say. That’s like yelling at little kids for something their parents did. Local franchise owners, likewise, have no influence over the company president’s personal opinions. They may even disagree.
Disclaimer: I have never eaten a Chik-Fil-A sandwich. They don’t exist in my state.
You’re quite welcome, Angela–thanks for saying so. As I said, I don’t mind that the CEO said horrible things or personally donates to anti-gay groups, and while I agree that the people who spend the most money frequently get to say the most, I don’t hold with Citizens United, and I don’t agree that the CEO of Chick-Fil-A (or any company) should get to spend the CORPORATION’S money on political causes. For example, Mark Bezos, founder and owner of Amazon, just gave $2.5 million to the marriage equality campaign in Washington. You can boycott Amazon if you want, but it was his own personal money he gave. On the other hand, the Chick-Fil-A makes corporate gifts to groups like NOM and Exodus International.
And I’ll stand by my statement about most franchisees and employees not really wanting this fight, despite the success of yesterday’s “eat-in” and the Forbes article I linked in the post about the “cult of Chick-Fil-A.”