Every day is chicken day around here, but today people are making an effort to eat at Chick-fil-A in order to offset the boycott directed at the chain because its owner opposes gay marriage. As I pointed out here, I don’t really object to people exercising their right not to spend money somewhere for some ideological reason. I think it can be carried too far, and honestly, as Fr. Dwight points out, people on our side don’t do this quite as much:
Where was the outcry when Ben and Jerry’s named an ice cream in support of gay marriage or Starbucks declared their corporate policy (not just one executive’s opinion) to be in favor of specific legislation supporting gay marriage. Why is Starbucks and Ben and Jerry’s allowed to support specific legislation in support of gay marriage with corporate policies, public marketing decisions and explicit information and public relations exercises, but Mr Cathy and Chick-Fil-A must remain silent? Who was really getting involved in politics? Starbucks, Ben and Jerry’s, Nike, Microsoft and other companies. They did so with public policy statements, ‘values’ statements and well funded propaganda.
The equivalent of Starbuck’s move would be for Chick-Fil-A to issue a public corporate policy statement in formal opposition to gay marriage and to fund measures to repeal it. An equivalent action by Chick-Fil-A to Ben and Jerry’s marketing and publicity blitz would be for Chick-Fil-A to name a new sandwich ‘The Mom and Dad Traditional Chicken Sandwich’ with a marketing campaign saying, “If you support Mom and Dad not Dad and Dad–then buy this sandwich, along with a media blitz to convince people to be against gay marriage.
I don’t like this idea of having to perform an ideological check on every purchase I make. When Jeff Bezos (head of Amazon) announced that he was donating money to support a gay marriage initiative, there were some passing suggestions for people to shift to other online sellers, but nothing serious. Certainly nothing even approaching the firestorm surrounding Chick-fil-A. I certainly won’t be changing my buying patterns. I already don’t buy Ben & Jerry’s because they’re overpriced, or Starbucks because it’s crap in a cup, and also overpriced. (Ever notice that the retail options with the best progressive credentials are the most boutiquey, expensive, pretentious ones, while the ones with the least–Walmart, Chick-fil-A–serve a lower income bracket? Funny, that.)
On the other hand, I’m all for offsetting the aggressive boycott tendencies of the left with a buycott. I won’t be able to get there today–still deep in a big project and family matters to tend to–but I plan to get over there this week and do something I rarely do when I can avoid it: eat fast food. They do make a pretty nice sandwich, and I’ll be doing my small part to show the forces of intolerance that opposition to gay marriage is not the same as opposition to gay people.