Dinner at Chik-Fil-A
July 24, 2012 4 Comments
Okay, probably not because my wife is making a fabulous crock pot meal, but I’m certainly not going to boycott due to the political beliefs of the corporate leadership. I really wonder what would be left to shop/consume if I stopped patronizing businesses where I disagreed with the corporate leadership and their political donations. Again, I also object to making gay marriage the sine qua non of liberal politics. Now, if Chik-Fil-A was going around robbing poor people or fighting against Medicaid, maybe I’d feel differently. Then again, basically any business that supports the Republican party is supporting a reduced safety net for society’s most vulnerable. There’s really no winning. Thus, I particularly enjoyed this essay from the Atlantic’s Jonathan Merritt:
But my bigger question is this: In a nation that’s as divided as ours is, do we really want our commercial lives and our political lives to be so wholly intermeshed? And is this really the kind of culture we want to create? Culture war boycotts cut both ways and are much more likely to meet with success when prosecuted by large groups of people, such as Christian activists, who are more numerous than gays and lesbians and their more activist supporters.
Gay and lesbian groups were famously rankled when pro-family activists reacted against Kraft for posting a photo of an Oreo cookie with rainbow-hued filling last month in honor of Gay Pride Month, and also when similar groups protested JCPenney for announcing lesbian talk show host Ellen DeGeneres would be its next spokesperson.
So should the 45 percent of Americans who oppose gay marriage opt for Chips Ahoy! instead of Oreos? Should they begin shopping at Belk instead of JC Penny? If they did, it wouldn’t make any more sense than the endless failed calls for liberal consumers to boycott Urban Outfitters, because its owner is a conservative and Rick Santorum donor, or to not order from Domino’s Pizza, because it was founded by a Catholic conservative who helped fund anti-abortion causes.
On both sides of our latest culture war divide, we must learn to have level-headed disagreements without resorting to accusations of hate speech and boycotts. As Josh Ozersky argued on TIMEThursday, “businesses should be judged by their products and their practices, not by their politics.”
I agree: I don’t care how my dry cleaner votes. I just want to know if he/she can press my Oxfords without burning my sleeves. I find no compelling reason to treat sandwiches differently than shirts.
From a business standpoint, some might say Cathy’s comments were imprudent if not downright dumb. But in a society that desperately needs healthy public dialogue, we must resist creating a culture where consumers sort through all their purchases (fast food and otherwise) for an underlying politics not even expressed in the nature of the product itself.
If white meat’s not your thing, try the Golden Arches. But if you want a perfectly fried chicken sandwich, Chick-fil-A, will be happy to serve you — gay or straight. In this case, those who boycott are the ones missing out.
Maybe I’m wrong, but until proven otherwise, I’ll enjoy my chicken sandwiches and the fabulous and courteous service completely unrivaled by other fast food establishments.