Welcome Instapundit readers!
The Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day yesterday was historic. It was historic because it marks a new method of mass protest. I even hesitate to use the word ‘protest’ because it wasn’t a protest. There wasn’t any anger. There wasn’t any hate. There wasn’t any bullying. There were no unwashed crowds of unhappy people holding a sit in and causing other people stress, inconvenience and expense. There were no protest signs, no marches, no noise makers and attention grabbers. There were no revolutionary slogans, no clenched fists, no class warfare, no sullen adolescents in a stroppy mood.
The classic signs of a protest movement were absent. If they were not actually violent revolutions, the great protest movements in history have often had violent undertones. Subtle threats were made. Bullying tactics, financial and political pressure was exerted. Guns were wielded. Behind the scenes in smoke filled rooms men did deals and crossed swords to determine the future of millions. In the great revolutions hoardes of unhappy people filled the streets, rioting and on the rampage they took what they wanted, killed who they wanted and in misplaced zeal for justice overturned an established order.
Even the non-violent protests pioneered by Gandhi and the American civil rights movement had an undercurrent of threat. Nevertheless, they avoided violence and they opened the way to other peaceful revolutions in which ordinary people stood up against injustice and tyranny without resorting to violence themselves. In his great biography of Pope John Paul II, George Weigel shows how the Catholic Church, during John Paul’s papacy, inspired this sort of non violent revolution across the globe. The Solidarity movement in Poland lit the fuse which brought down the Communist Empire with little or no violence. The revolution of Cory Aquino in the Phillipines, and numerous other smaller scale non-violent revolutions in Africa and Central and South America were all inspired by the people and for the people–and most of them were also inspired by people of faith–working from the grass roots upward to change their society for the better.
Yesterday’s Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day was the sort of ‘revolt’ this country needs, but it was even better than the non violent revolutions and peaceful protests which have changed the world because it was so ordinary. It was just plain, ordinary Americans getting in their cars and doing a plain, ordinary American thing: going out for lunch to a fast food joint. It was just plain, ordinary Americans doing something plain and ordinary, but positive and joyful and good. In buying an ordinary tasty chicken sandwich at their corner fast food emporium ordinary Americans were expressing the wish to be left alone to be ordinary Americans.
There were no protest signs (except from a few glum pro-gays who said we were eating ‘hate’ sandwiches) There were no noisy, angry scenes. Folks in the drive through lines did not honk their horns or proclaim their Christianity with bullhorns. There were no statements against homosexuals or homosexuality. (Indeed, the only statement put out by Chick-Fil-A affirmed their commitment to serve and employ all people equally without notice of race, gender, age or sexual orientation.) The brilliance of the event that it used the network of a nationwide fast food chain as the foundation for a visible, peaceful, creative nationwide statement.
There was no bullying, no hateful anti-homosexual loud mouthed preachers. This grace, patience gentleness and community good humor contrasted with the ugly and spiteful comments from the ‘other side’. Nobody wished their enemies to get cancer the way ‘comedian’ Roseanne Barr proclaimed. Nobody was using back room political and financial pressure to bully the majority of Americans the way mayors of Boston, DC and Chicago were doing. For all the talk of the traditional marriage supporters being full of hate, there was not hatred apparent. It was just ordinary suburban Americans sticking up for their way of life by buying a chicken sandwich with their friends and neighbors. These were not scary people like the folks from Westboro Baptist who tote guns and hate homos. They were the folks next door.
Yesterday’s demonstration was a truly American form of revolution. Where else could it happen but the USA? Read More.
The Anchoress has a Chick-Fil-A day bloggers round up here.