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Thursday, August 02, 2012

Can I have fries with that?

While both sides of the gay marriage debate are duking it out over Chick-fil-A, I am sitting at home watching from the sidelines. I know the sidelines aren't usually where I am when things are happening, but I wanted to explain why and give my thoughts on the whole thing.

When all of this brou-ha-ha started and plans were developing to boycott/stage a protest/etc., I was trying to figure out my next move. I decided to contact my best friend, who is gay, down in Atlanta and ask him what to do.

I sent him a text. It said: "Are we going to protest Chick-fil-A for being anti-gay? I'm will do it if you are."

And he replies: "No, I like their food too much. They need to just shut up and make good food."

So, no protest for me. Way I figure, if my best friend is not too concerned with what a fast-food chain thinks about his marriage prospects, I might as well stand in solidarity with him.

Now, that doesn't mean I ran out and bought some chicken nuggets to show how Christian I am. I also didn't go there with a nice lady in a flannel shirt and make out with her while I waited for my chicken wrap.

Maybe I'm being naive, but I don't see how choosing to buy or not buy a chicken sandwich makes you for or against anything but chicken, maybe beef.

A lot of people are saying that now that we know what Chick-fil-A stands for, we have to be against it. A few thoughts on this. 1. I've always admired that it's a Christian company and it's closed on Sunday. More businesses should be. Perhaps the world would be a better place if folks could spend the Lord's day at home with their family. 2. While their CEO seems to be a bigoted blow-hard who's spouting hate in the name of Christian values, it happens all the time, and it has nothing to do with chicken. So, he got into a race where he didn't really have a pony. Celebrities spout off about shit they have no business talking about all the time (Good morning, Kardashians), and people listen to them. You know how I know this? I have sold about 80 million of those Sophie the Giraffe teething things because one of those Kardashians gave it to her baby. 3. Lastly, I suspect if we looked long and hard at what the CEOs of the businesses we frequent truly stood for, we'd be very surprised. We'd also probably be hungry, naked and sitting in our houses with nothing to do. Corporate leaders are in a whole different world than we are.

Several years ago, one of my college pals got after me for my Longaberger basket collection. Why? Because the Longabergers are one of the top donors to the Ohio Republican Party, and I was working my ass off to get Democrats elected. The friend felt like I was a traitor to my belief system and my political party. However, while the Longabergers are a lot more conservative than I am and have a lot more money to give to political candidates, they are entitled to their beliefs. And, at the time, they were one of the top employers in Ohio. Their products were all made in Ohio using Ohio wood, and I believed in that too. (Sidenote: Tami Longaberger announced at the basket bee that they are bringing all those jobs back to Ohio.) So, I made a deal with my friend (one that still stands today, if he's still interested). When I die, he can take all of my Longaberger baskets and auction them off and give the money to the Ohio Democratic party. Everyone wins that way. And, honestly, the baskets have no political affiliation. They are just some handwoven strips of maple that I hold my coffee filters and plastic silverware in.

Do I think protests against big companies can work? Well, yes. Do I think that you and I not buying chicken nuggets is going to cause a man to wake up tomorrow and decide he thinks men should be allowed to marry men? Now that I'm thinking about it, does it matter what the owner of Chick-fil-A thinks about gay marriage? He's not any type of county clerk, as far as I know. And soon enough, it will most likely be the law of the land, and those who don't like it will just have to suck it up. Or as I like to say, "Against gay marriage? Don't have one."

I admire everyone who stands up for what they believe in -- whether I agree with it or not. But at the end of the day, if this fight over chicken nuggets and gay marriage hurts anyone, it will be the independent franchisees who own Chick-fil-A stores and the men and women who work there. And, as much as I love my BFF and want him to get married if that's his life's path, I don't want a single mom making minimum wage to get her hours cut because the CEO of her company is a jackass.

So, basically, I am taking a stand for not taking a stand on this one.

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