Thursday, August 2, 2012

So I was a little bit wrong in my response to the Chick-Fil-A kerfuffle

Update: I was wrong again! Or right in the first place, depending on how you want to look at it. No actual CFA permits have been denied by politicians, said politicians have simply directly and publicly expressed to CFA that they are not particularly welcome in their district. Which is much more like expressing an opinion than being discriminatory. If anyone understands the legal workings of this situation better than me, please chime in!


I admit it! In my initial reaction to the swirl of news surrounding Dan Cathy coming out of the anti-gay closet, I responded very positively to news of politicians blocking Chick-Fil-A from constructing new stores in their respective districts. I was excited at the prospect of CFA experiencing significant social consequences and potential profit loss for their hateful stance. After reading more about the situation and considering it more carefully however, I realize that I was wrong. This is a Very Bad Thing. A politician's personal views should not be used to determine what businesses get permits or are allowed to open stores in the regions those politicians represent, even if they are personal views I agree with. It sets a terrible precedent and is honestly discriminatory. I would not want anti-equality politicians blocking gay-friendly businesses from opening, and I do not get to have it both ways. My bad.

There have been other consequences of the CFA Kerfuffle that I find completely confusing, though. And rage-inducing. Let me establish a bit of background here so we can fully appreciate how ridiculous some of these reactions have been.

First, I realize that not eating at CFA is a very, very small thing. But I do it because it is a small thing that matters to me and doesn't hurt anyone. I can't boycott every company that supports causes I disagree with...either because I don't know about it, or because it isn't financially feasible for me.  In this case, I do know and I can act so that is what I choose to do. I don't think that people who eat at CFA who don't really know or care what happens to their money are bad people. We just have different priorities. But recently there have been a lot of people out there who, directly in response to Dan Cathy and his remarks that highlighted his company's investments in bigotry, are rallying behind CFA in solidarity. These are not the aforementioned customers who just aren't interested. They have learned of CFA's misdeeds and the outrage they have generated and they are choosing the wrong side.

CFA is not being bullied by people who have decided to take their business elsewhere and are speaking out about that decision. Dan Cathy's right to free speech is not being attacked when people say they don't agree with him and explain why or when they pledge not to support his business or when they report about what CFA's charitable contributions are used for. If you think that is the case, you really need to remind yourself what 'bullying' and 'free speech' actually mean.

This whole 'support Chick-Fil-A on August 1st' nonsense? All of you assholes posting pictures of yourselves eating CFA sandwiches on Twitter? What you are doing is proudly supporting an organization that you know for a goddamned fact supports bigotry, and you are doing it because the company admitted publicly to supporting bigotry! One guess what that makes you. Think real hard.

This prideful support of a company's right to dedicate millions of dollars to making a whole section of the human population miserable should be embarrassing. You should not be able to get away with demonstrating that level of callousness and selfishness publicly without being overwhelmed by condemnation from your peers. You should be dripping from the social shame regurgitated all over you by outraged passersby. Because gay people, the people who actually have to deal with the consequences of CFA's 'charitable donations'? They see you doing this. They see where your priorities lie and where their rights fall in relation to them, and placing more value on a chicken sandwich than on someone's rights as a human being is a shitty thing to do.

So while I must admit my own error in judgement in thinking that it was appropriate for politicians to be the source of social consequences for CFA's behavior, I loudly maintain that social consequences should exist and that they should be enforced by those of us who give a damn. Don't give them your money, and don't let these assholes supporting CFA get away with treating your friends and loved ones like they matter less than a chicken sandwich.

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