Are we really staging our political battles in fast food restaurants now? Apparently so, as former VP Candidate Sarah Palin, former Presidential hopeful Rick Santorum, and others in various political office have decided to visit the Chicken Sandwich retailers en masse to publicly stage support for their franchise-based politics. The really despicable thing here isn’t what COO Dan Cathy said, it’s how we, as a collective society, responded.
How the “debate” started:
COO Dan Cathy stated that supporting marriage equality was akin to “shaking our fists at God” and I paraphrase here. I don’t think what he said is relevant anymore. There are thousands of businesses and businessman who use their profits to support their beliefs, on both sides of various debates. It is, unfortunately, part of our wonderfully capitalistic society. In short, it’s what it means to be American. Puffing our your chest and opening your wallet, logic and reason seem to take no prisoners here.
So a bigot said something against the LGBT community. In the ongoing fight for equality, it seems par for the course to lash out at anyone that still opposes equality, or uses their money to fight for it. These issues do matter, however in the melee between anti and pro, we lose sight of how best to react to and resolve conflict.
After Cathy’s remarks went viral, spurred by the drama-loving media, celebrities, cultural icons, and gay fans of CFA took to twitter to share their disgust with yet another loud-mouthed American businessman with a hateful viewpoint. Did anyone stop to data-check? How many people were actually there when Cathy said those things? Did anyone bother to consider that maybe he was misquoted? Nope. Instead, we were all too eager to fire back at him, crying that hate had no place in mass consumerism. Cathy has supported anti-gay measures in the past, so bring on the effigies, right?
Once many celebs touted their sudden disgust with CFA, it became a fad to do so, and naturally those who were still on CFA’s side, tweeted images of themselves buying sandwiches.
Everyone is to blame for this awful circus, and no one is looking at the big picture.
First, we over react way too often, especially to media-based information. We are also too quick to judge, on both sides. Why should anyone care what a greasy sandwich seller thinks anyway? Because he puts money into fighting against equality? He’s not the only one, he’s just the latest to come under fire.
Second, we rely too much on media-based information.This is a hard truth to face, and there is no easy solution to it. We are dependent on the media for our news, but we never scrutinize the facts they lay out for us. We also fan the flames they create, because we continue to buy newspapers, magazines, subscriptions…by doing this, we tell them that we support them no matter what, and they remain unchecked. What if Cathy was misquoted? He has a right to speak his mind, even if it’s horribly ignorant. We have the right to ignore it. We decide to boycott his restaurants, but this ends up hurting local economy. Politicians start blocking petitions to build new restaurants (Chicago was the first to do this), but this is not their place. It’s disgusting politics, and doesn’t solve anything.
Third, Chick-fil-a food is unhealthy and sub-par anyway, so shouldn’t the first argument have been: Why does America rely so heavily on fast food? We are an obese nation, obsessed with easy food, addicted to fat and salt, and now we wage our wars inside chain restaurants. It’s all utterly ridiculous.
We should be a nation that values actually healthy eating, not one that values fast food. Cathy has millions to support anti-gay politics because we collectively line his pockets by eating terribly unhealthy food. The hatred that has been brought out on both sides is unwarranted and does not solve anything. We need a new set of values all around, and instead of being focused on fast food bigotry, we should focus on healthy living that is affordable.
People are upset, because one more guy said it was filthy and sinful to be gay. He happens to own a chain of restaurants that fuel unhealthy lifestyles in America. It’s cyclical American nonsense, but hey it’ll be just another dead story in a week or two.
Final thought: Don’t give up Chick-Fil-A because of their politics. Give them up because honey, you just don’t need the calories.