Oh, Actually, Boycott Chick-Fil-A

Gabe Delahaye | August 2, 2012 - 11:45 am

By now you have definitely heard at least something about this Chick-Fil-A stuff, right? You’re on Facebook. Everything’s happenin’ on Facebook these days! Anyway, this chain restaurant that sells hamburgers made out of chicken has openly supported conservative Christian politics for years, but recently became aggressively vocal in their disparagement of gay marriage. This has made the gay community (and lots of non-gay people) angry. The problem seemed at first to be in the conflict between hot-button politics and delicious, delicious sandwiches. (For those of us who do not shove our faces full of garbage on a daily basis, it was a little less cut and dry, although we all still agree that gay people should be allowed to get married because WHAT WORLD EVEN IS THIS ANYMORE, right?) OK, so, about a week ago, I touched on the Chick-Fil-A thing in a post about Antoine Dodson, OBVIOUSLY, Antoine Dodson being the fulcrum for all things important. My point at the time was basically that some portion of pretty much every dollar you spend every single day goes to support something that you whole-heartedly disagree with and maybe even abhor. So, while the political statement of refusing to patronize a particular business is totally valid and I support anyone who choses to voice their opinion through their purchasing power (however weak this statement often feels), I felt that people could eat Chick-Fil-A sandwiches without being demonized as hate-filled bigotry-mongers. You should take some care in how you spend your money and be as aware as possible of what you are “saying” with your purchases, but if someone wanted a chicken sandwich for lunch and they bought a Chick-Fil-A Chicken Whopper, that maybe this wasn’t the most devious of anti-gay political statements. I am now here to say fuck this, the game done changed, boycott Chick-Fil-A.

Here’s what happened:

Some assholes went on the television and turned this into an actual all-out political event! First, Mike Huckabee declared yesterday “Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day,” which resulted in long lines in a bunch of the restaurants. Really, Mike Huckabee? Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day? Don’t you have guitar practice? (Actually, the first thing that happened was some mayors said they hated Chick-Fil-A, but we will get back to that in a minute.) In order to spread the word of this national holiday, Sarah Palin went on FOX News and did what she does worst, opened her mouth and tried to string English words together into complete sentences:

Oh brother. Classic. And to think that she’s only 250 million heartbeats away from the presidency! The framing of this as a first amendment issue is insane. It’s kind of like claiming that a comedian should be allowed to say whatever he wants. Yes, of course? No one on either side of this issue is saying someone shouldn’t be allowed to say what they want. No one is even saying that the COO of a major corporation shouldn’t be allowed to say what he/she wants. In private. Everyone gets to do that all the time, and guess what, we often take WAY TOO MUCH ADVANTAGE of that liberty. If anything, while I agree that everyone SHOULD be able to say what they want, I wish there was a part of the Constitution that at least SUGGESTED that sometimes people DON’T say what they want. Say it silently in your head first, and then again, and then again, and then don’t say it out loud and go to bed, because your thoughts suck. BUT OK, SO ANYWAY: if this is a first amendment right as Sarah Palin is saying, which it isn’t, it is a first amendment rights issue the way that Citizens United is a first amendment right. If you believe that corporations have an equal right with non-multinational-billionaire-human-beings to express their “beliefs,” then yes, totally, this is SOOOOOO a first amendment issue. (And the Supreme Court agrees with you, so what the hell do I even know?!) The problem with this kind of first amendment right is that multi-national-billionaire corporations have much more “money” and “power” than normal people, and therefore their “opinions” have a much louder voice and a much greater effect on the public lives of other people. Yikes! The reason we don’t mind people being allowed to say whatever they want is that for the most part, people’s words don’t have that much effect. (And guess what, when they do have a big effect, there are slander and libel laws to keep them in check.) When corporations do the same thing, it is disconcerting at the very least, and a populist boycott is literally the mildest of possible reactions. The idea that people not buying Chick-Fil-A sandwiches or mayors making politically-advantageous-but-ultimately-toothless-statements of support (we will get to this, I told you, just one second) is somehow going to revoke our constitutional right to make rape jokes is not even a remote possibility. But this isn’t a first amendment right issue anyways, so let’s just move on.

We’re going to skip right over the weirdly condescending and completely nonsensical sing-song thing she does about how marriage should be a boy and a girl holding hands or whatever the hell she says there. Whatever. Let’s pick our battles.

Sarah Palin then pulls out the old “intolerance” chestnut. This one comes out whenever someone is criticized for their clearly hateful beliefs. Because let’s be honest: if you do not agree that all people deserve equal treatment in this world, then you hold hateful beliefs. The end! There just is no wiggle room on this, which I know I have said before like some kind of broken record, but broken records for a broken world, I guess. The intolerance argument is a favorite among racists and homophobes and bigots of all stripes! “By telling me that I’m a bigot, you are being intolerant of my hatred.” Well, maybe so! I definitely have a very low “tolerance” for horribleness! What she’s specifically talking about here is a trio of American mayors (Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco) saying that Chick-Fil-A wouldn’t be welcome in their cities. Sure. Whatever. This is just a politically advantageous position to take. A mayor can’t single-handedly stop a business from setting up shop in their city. That’s not how being a mayor works. I don’t think?

This actually would have been a great opportunity for the anti-gay supporters of Chick-Fil-A to save some face and lodge a legitimate complaint. It was these mayors who injected actual for-real-politics-like-with-actual-politicians into the controversy. People like Palin could have gotten off scott free (almost) by saying “we shouldn’t be politicizing this,” and then taken a big, greasy, grinning bite of a Big Chicken Mac and given the thumbs up. Ultimately, people not buying Chick-Fil-A is a good, boots on the ground protest against corporate-sponsored bigotry. Mixing legitimate politics into it DOES get messy. Maybe the mayors should have stayed out of it. But this is hardly an issue of INTOLERANCE towards the business leaders of Chick-Fil-A. That just is not an argument that holds any dipping sauce. (Good one, Gabe.)

But while Palin is the bigger splash, I actually find this clip of Bill O’Reilly even more problematic if only because at this point it’s almost painful to watch Palin try to express one thought clearly, whereas Bill O’Reilly can definitely say what he means, even if what he means is usually a disingenuous lie used to support the earnest Larry the Cable Guy character he has created and made millions performing:

Oh God. Everything about this clip. Bill O’Reilly claiming that the three aforementioned mayors taking politically advantageous (but also morally correct) positions on the Chick-Fil-A thing is somehow akin to MAO ZEDONG and JOSEPH STALIN is just straight up HORRIFIC. I know that this is a standard rhetorical flourish that is not restricted in any way to conservative voices and is actually a popular mainstay of BLOGS, but to make these kinds of sweeping comparisons between something you mildly disagree with and MURDEROUS DESPOTS THROUGHOUT HISTORY is such a crushingly disrespectful insult to the memories of every actual human being who had to suffer and/or die under their miserable rule. Not to mention the very simple fact that the mayors in question could simply be voted out of office if their constituents love chicken and hate faggots more than these elected officials, we’re also still talking about a MINOR FLARE UP OVER A FAST FOOD CHAIN AND PEOPLE’S LEGISLATED INABILITY TO LOVE EACH OTHER. Please leave Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s nuclear hatred of the Jews OUT OF IT. One thing at a time, dude!

Here’s a question: does George Soros even exist? At this point I’m starting to think he was made up by Roger Ailes so that his anchors would always have at least one thing to yell about every night.

There’s obviously nothing particularly novel about Bill O’Reilly bringing on a guest just in order to shout him down on his own show while constantly moving the goal posts, but it’s still equally awful to see every time it happens. I don’t know who Dave Rubin is, but he makes a good point that Bill O’Reilly’s own stated desire is for politicians to say what they think. His show was called THE NO SPIN ZONE for heaven’s sake. That was never a real thing, as we know, but it was always at least the presentation of the thing. But now Bill O’Reilly DOESN’T want to hear politicians saying what they believe in because what they believe in is “fascism.” Oh good grief. (It isn’t. And he’s a jerk.) Don’t worry, we’re almost done.

Oh, and hey, Michelle Fields, you look great and you make really interesting points and the Daily Caller definitely seems legitimate and real for sure, not the Jukt Micronics of the right.

So here’s the thing: a week ago, I really think you could have supported gay marriage and still eaten at Chick-Fil-A. Maybe you would feel a little guilty about it, as you should, FOR A NUMBER OF REASONS. (It is terrible for you! Don’t you even want to live?!) But buying a sandwich was not the same overtly politicized statement as NOT buying a sandwich. Those days are over. Sorry! It’s not your fault. You are still a good person who just happens to believe that two people of the same gender should be allowed to love each other because our time on Earth is short and who are we to judge people we don’t even know and whose intimate and meaningful and most importantly private relationship has no bearing or effect on our equally private lives and you also just love Quarter Chickenders With Chicken Cheese. You are not the mayor of a city. You are not a former vice presidential candidate. You are not the host of a nationally syndicated yell show. You did not choose this, but it has been thrust upon you. Now that you have all the facts, and now that you have heard all the opinions, and now that our country has celebrated fucking CHICK-FIL-A APPRECIATION DAY, you do have to make a choice. Your lunch now does say something about you. You have the right to say whatever you want with your lunch, this is still America, but you have to know what you are saying. So please don’t say terrible things.

Boycott Chick-Fil-A.