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on fast food chicken

With the culture wars currently feasting on a diet of fried chicken, it seems appropriate to take a moment to figure out how we got here. The more polite among us are beginning to involve themselves by reminding us that fried chicken isn’t that important and that we shouldn’t assume the worst about each other. I think, in general, this is always a good message. However, we shouldn’t fall into the lazy thinking that taking a position in the middle makes you impartial, fair, and reasonable. I also submit that in this case, our assumptions are accurate. Simply, homophobic is as homophobic does.

I’ve heard it said that this thinking isn’t fair. I’m going to explain why it is by breaking down the argument made by chicken-loving social conservatives.

1. This is about freedom of speech - This is obviously illogical. Freedom of speech protects you from the government, not from criticisms of your fellow citizens. Seeing as nobody from Chick Fil A has been imprisoned or fined for this, clearly freedom of speech is safe. Furthermore, to suggest that liberals who want to boycott should be silenced is, itself, to suggest that freedom of speech be curtailed. Do you see why this argument doesn’t work?

2. Consumer activism hurts businesses and is unfair - This could be a logical argument. It would be a logical argument if you had not previously supported consumer activism on your side. If you think boycotts are so vile, why didn’t you feel this outraged when 1 Million Moms boycotted J C Penny for adopting Ellen Degenerous as a spokesperson? I’m waiting for an answer to that. From my perspective, it seems you’re only opposed to consumer activism when liberals do it.

So, at this point we’re left with the conclusion that the reasons you cite for supporting Chick Fil A are not really the reasons you’re doing it. You’re leaving me to fill in the blanks, myself. Here’s what I came up with.

1. You think what Chick Fil A did is good - Since it’s pretty obvious this isn’t about freedom of speech or consumer activism being wrong, you really must think that donating to hate groups is either not that bad or possibly good. I’ll try not to assume the worst, but you do realize that the donations WERE made by the corporation and did go to HATE groups, whose sole purpose is to restrict marriage, right? So, when I say you’re supporting a corporation that wants to restrict gay rights, you really are, and there’s no way to argue that point, except maybe making a time machine or brainwashing me.

2. You’re so hardened by the culture war that your first reflex is to take the side opposing those darn liberals - I think this is probably the more likely scenario. I still think this is morally wrong. Would you argue with me about the KKK being wrong just because we’re on other sides of the spectrum. Oh wait, you already did argue that murdering a teenager for the crime of wearing a hoodie was fine because he was looking suspicious (read: black). Sorry, couldn’t resist. But anyway, I’ve always tried to listen to what you have to say with an open mind and wouldn’t disagree with you purely out of spite. I still haven’t made my mind up about many issues that you care about. I’m not sure if I think shale oil is a good idea, and I promise I won’t decide against it just because I’m afraid of having common ground with you. Why can’t you extend to me the same courtesy?

I don’t think either of these assumptions is very flattering, and sadly, these are pretty much the only explanations with which you’ve left us for your behavior. Your timing is telling and speaks volumes. You care about this issue BECAUSE you either want to be contrary or oppose gay marriage. Either way, you’re still siding with a company who made the choice to donate to hate groups whose sole aim is to restrict the rights of gay Americans. So, homophobic is as homophobic does. You’ve chosen your side. This sends a message, whether you choose to acknowledge it or not.

I’ll admit that by most people’s standards, I’ve probably gotten too worked up. I don’t think I have. Gay teens are 4 times more likely to kill themselves. 4 times more likely. When they’re in a supportive environment, the numbers drop to normal levels. When I see your Chick Fil A posts, I see you casting a vote for the status quo and fighting to preserve an environment where homophobia is condoned or even encouraged. What does your support of Chick Fil A say to a gay teen who is struggling with his or her identity? It says that they are not doing what they should be, that they should continue living their lives at the margins of society and hide who they are. What does this say to the truly hateful people out there? I think it says that you understand why they feel justified in beating up a dirty homo. So, I realize this might sound a little histrionic, but you have blood on your hands. You have a part in creating cultural norms and your words and facebook posts have an effect. Please don’t tell me it’s just an opinion. It became something more when you voiced it so publicly.

I hope you’ll actually listen to what I have to say. I’m pretty sure most of the people I’m talking to already decided that they wouldn’t even bother reading what I have to say, because they know I’m on “the other side.” That’s really sad.


Hitting the 'like' button

Well said.

July 2012

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