July 27, 2012
It’s no secret that Chick-Fil-A recently got into a lot of hot water both from people who think the LGBT community is made up of human beings whom deserve the rights and dignity of every human being and people who like the Muppets.
That’s a big demographic to upset.
Chick-Fil-A’s president went on the record to state that he and his company stand for Biblical family, for traditional marriage, and oppose gay rights. That is his opinion to make. He has every right to believe that. Everyone can believe this if he or she wishes it.
Just like, you know, I and actual compassionate human beings have the right to not buy his product in order to send more money to anti-gay groups. It’s as simple as that. It’s called a boycott, and it’s a very simple, effective way to show your disapproval of a company. It helped get Glenn Beck off the air, for example.
However, over at The Atlantic, it seems that boycotting Chick-Fil-A is the first step towards… something. Something sinister that may (gasp) hurt businesses and is therefore and attack on capitalism and babies will explode and the sky will BURN.
Maybe the article doesn’t go into those depths, but it’s close.
Should [customers] swear off the legendary chicken sandwiches to support gay rights? Or could they eat one of the filets anyway, knowing their dollars would be but a drop in the bucket for a chain that has more than $4 billion in annual sales and donated a pittance to groups they may disagree with?
One person is not going won’t change anything, the author says. Yes, he’s right. One person doesn’t change a company’s policy… but thousands or millions certainly do change things. Even if the company donated just 1% of that $4 billion to anti-gay groups, that’s still forty million dollars.
On another note, the fact that these sandwiches are “legendary” and are therefore more important than gay rights is a bit offensive. No chicken sandwich… no SANDWICH, is worth more than basic human dignity and freedom.
I’d argue the latter — and this has nothing to do with my views on gay marriage. It’s because Chick-fil-A is a laudable organization on balance, and because I refuse to contribute to the ineffective boycott culture that’s springing up across America.
Uhm, okay? So you’re boycotting boycotts?
I actually like how smugly he justifies his contempt for the boycott. Chick-Fil-A is a business with a great business model and is therefore shielded from your petty worries. Everyone knows that being great at business means you’re morally beyond reproach.
Kneel before Zod!
First of all, Chick-fil-A is not a hate group. In a statement released yesterday, company leaders made their commitment to equal service clear, “The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect — regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender.”
So the company admits that it will sell to anyone, at any time, and treat them well? That’s not an argument for them being nice people so much as it is an argument for them being savvy businesspeople. In such a multicultural world, you can’t afford to alienate anyone. Plus, money talks. Every person is a potential customer.
The company may not be in the same league as the Klan or other heinous organizations, but it’s campaigning against people in an effort to deny them rights. That makes them morally reprehensible to a lot of people.
Additionally, the organization gives millions of dollars each year to charitable causes — and not just to “pro-family” groups. It funds a large foster care program, several schools of a higher learning, and a children’s camp. It has provided thousands of scholarships for Chick-fil-A employees to attend college and grow past the service sector where they got their workplace start. (On Friday, the company provided free meals for Aurora, Colo., policemen.)
Foster care and children’s camps are not some liberal cause. Neither is providing food to law enforcement. Scholarships to employees? That’s just having awesome benefits. Somehow, the fact that the company donates to charities that EVERYONE can like is somehow supposed to make up for the money that goes to groups that want to keep several of my friends from marrying their partners.
Rush Limbaugh donates to charities, too. He’s still a pompous dingbat with a massive disconnect from reality and an ego with its own gravitational pull. Helping one person doesn’t excuse treating another like crap.
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.
Actually, there’s a wonderful article right here on why Christians SHOULDN’T boycott. It’s anti-Christian. It’s coercion. It’s a sinful use of power.
Now go ahead, Christian Right. Boycott. Because nothing draws in the heathen crowd like seeing a bunch of fundamentalists picketing. It’s like chum for the heathens and hedonists out there. It must mean fun is trying to be suppressed.
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.
Actually, yes, they can boycott. They’re making their voices heard. If I believe someone is going to use my money to fund causes I am against, I’m certainly not going to give them money.
In one breath, the author states boycotts don’t work, and in the next, he threatens a boycott that he insists would work. It’s an amazing feat of logical gymnastics that would get a high score in the BS Olympics.
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 TIME Thursday, “businesses should be judged by their products and their practices, not by their politics.”
That’s not how life works! If the pizza shop down the street makes the best pizza in Chicago and New York combined but the money goes to fund Glenn Beck, you bet your life I’m not going to go. When I give someone money, I’m doing it with the expectation that the money is going to pay wages, materials, administrative costs… etc. If someone who works at a great bar makes the best drinks in town but is an avowed racist, you bet I’m not going back until that person is fired. That’s one great thing about capitalism. You don’t have to write a letter to get someone’s attention. You can just do NOTHING and get a result. The company’s job is to make money. Making statements like this and donating to groups that are fighting against a segment of the population will be detrimental to business one way or another.
As far as I can tell, the author seems to think corporations and businesses are somehow different from the people who run them. Chick-Fil-A is a company, after all, and the company didn’t say these things. It was one man!
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.
This is really just like saying, “I don’t have any convictions or opinions of my own and wish to be deaf to the funding for causes that may affect me in the future.”
Basically, the author is advocating social laziness.
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.
And there it is. How dare we deny ourselves a perfect chicken sandwich? It’s so much work to look through our purchases or pay attention when someone makes a very public declaration that they use consumer money to further ideological agendas. Why can’t we all just give in and throw our money at the corporations so it can eventually trickle down to us?
Long live the corporation!
Okay, so maybe I stretched it out, but my point stands: this is social laziness. Boycotting is not always successful, but companies are not entitled to our money. We buy a product because we like the product, but if the company supports causes. If I have a choice between a Neo-Nazi burger joint that uses 100% angus beef and home-made condiments and a McDonald’s-like crap burger, I’m going with the crap-burger.
Not every Chick-Fil-A employee is homophobic, but the money’s going to homophobic causes. I won’t support that. Neither should you.
And now, to cleanse the palette, let us laugh at dumb people hurting themselves.