OK, time to wade into current events.
I refuse to eat at Chick-fil-A, simply because it’s not a company that I want to support. I don’t think I’ve eaten there for at least two years, roughly around the time I first came out and first saw this video. Bryan Safi is a genius (RIP Infomania).
When all of the recent brouhaha around Chick-fil-A and the anti-gay rights views of its president first began brewing last week, I couldn’t help but be slightly amused. I don’t think it’s exactly the best kept secret in the world that Chick-fil-A is a religious company, at least higher up. Of course, that’s their prerogative. Mine is to not give them my money. People really seemed to become energized by the controversy though. Both sides, those supporting Chick-fil-A and those against it, staged nationwide protests. It’s been all over the news, and definitely blowing up my Facebook feed. Even my mom posted something about it.
What amused me about it though was really captured by the protests. People either went out of their way to buy a meal from Chick-fil-A in a show of solidarity, or stood outside with protest signs and kissed members of the same sex to show support for the LGBT community.
Chicken sandwiches, or two men kissing. Take your pick?
I of course think it’s great that people are having a discussion about whether or not it’s appropriate to support a company that is not only run by people who are clearly against gay rights, but also furthers opposition to same-sex marriage through its charity arm (the WinShape Foundation). It’s a microcosm of the debate about the role that companies play in America that I think should be happening more often. I’m also clearly not a fan of Chick-fil-a and am very happy that others have also decided to vote with their dollars and not support the company. Chick-fil-A’s president is entitled to his opinion, but he doesn’t have to have our money.
I just think it’s odd that something like boycotting a chicken sandwich has struck such a nerve in the U.S. Similar controversies have popped up before, and I don’t think have sparked such a firestorm of media coverage. Granted, part of that is probably due to the 24/7 social media driven news cycle, where your 140 characters are the most important commentary and your Instagram-documented life is relevant to today’s current events. But even still, I can’t help but wonder if it’s because the controversy is attached to a fast food chicken sandwich that it has developed such a strong polarization.
Americans love fast food, and Chick-fil-A is quickly becoming more and more popular. My roommates observe Chick-fil-A Fridays fairly regularly (I, of course, sit out on those gatherings), and I wouldn’t be surprised if many other people do something similar. Since I haven’t been in a long time, I’m not entirely sure, but I think most of their menu is fairly straightforward: a chicken sandwich with a side of waffle fries. I don’t know if it’s yet on the level of the Big Mac or Whopper, but based on the devotion that some people have to Chick-fil-A, I think it’s safe to say that for many Americans, Chick-fil-A’s sandwich has become somewhat iconic and, in that sense, comforting. You always know what you’ll be getting when you order that from one of their restaurants.
So, for many Americans, in some sense the anger towards Chick-fil-A was anger towards something very near and dear to them. And to be honest, that upsets me more than any anti-gay views.
I wish people didn’t need a gay rights issue to decide to no longer eat Chick-fil-A, and instead just chose not to eat there because the food is unhealthy. True, if someone is going to eat fast food, a chicken sandwich is a much better choice than a burger. But any fast food should be eaten sparingly from a health standpoint. One of my friends posted about the controversy on Facebook and how he would no longer be eating at Chick-fil-A, and one of the responses that stood out to me pointed out that at least Chick-fil-A is more natural and less processed than other fast food options.
Earlier today while reading through my blog feed, I saw this picture that just really sums up my view on the whole matter.
Couldn’t have said it better myself. Though I will say, I now have a strange craving for a chicken sandwich…