Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Of protest, politics and poultry: Chick-fil-A, an American tale

The line to order food is long at the Chick-fil-A on Dale Mabry in South Tampa on Wednesday. Crowds flocked to the chain to support what its president said.

KATHLEEN FLYNN Times

The line to order food is long at the Chick-fil-A on Dale Mabry in South Tampa on Wednesday. Crowds flocked to the chain to support what its president said.

Could there be a story more American than the raging Chick-fil-A debate — the one about free speech and consumer power, about protest and counter-protest, about putting your money where your mouth is?

Unless you have been away — far, far away — you probably heard Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy recently opine that we are "inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say, 'We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.' " He spoke of our "prideful, arrogant attitude" and "the audacity to try to redefine what marriage is all about."

Translation: The guy who runs the place where you get your chicken nuggets thinks gay marriage is an abomination.

Those outraged by his comments rose up with promises of boycotts. Some politicians said an intolerant business would be less than welcome in their towns. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said: "Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values."

Those similarly against gay marriage, or at least in favor of Cathy speaking out, responded by packing his chicken shacks in a show of support this week, making for a reportedly record-breaking day for the chain. Sarah Palin was there, posing with a sack of fast food.

And we're not done yet. Today, counter-counter-activists plan to show the love at restaurants across the country with National Same-Sex Kiss Day at Chick-fil-A.

What's so American about all this?

Ours is a country born of protest. We value the right to speak up and say what we think. We can spend our hard-earned money where we choose, and we can vote our hearts.

Of course, it should go without saying that Cathy has an absolute right to express his opinion.

It also goes without saying that consumers have a right to spend (or not spend) at businesses that reflect their values (or do not).

Maybe that means eating Chick-n-Strips three meals a day in display of solidarity with Cathy.

Or maybe like me you will forgo the waffle fries and lemonade because handing over even a couple of crumpled bucks now rubs you the wrong way.

(By the way, before this, my only beef with Chick-fil-A was over its memorable ad campaign: one group of barnyard animals (cows) encouraging us carnivores to consume another group of barnyard animals (chickens) to save themselves. The spokescows are so endearing you almost miss the creepiness in it. Or is it just me?)

Here's what's also American about this story: Whether you like an elected official who publicly condemns what you consider bigotry or you think those kinds of threats cross the line, you can vote accordingly.

Turns out it's also a story that people worlds apart can agree on, at least a little — even, as it turns out, me and Mike Huckabee. The former presidential candidate pushed for this week's show of solidarity that filled restaurants with supporters.

Asked about today's planned counter kiss-in for same-sex couples, Huckabee didn't condemn it. "In America," he said, "I think people have a right to do things that I might not agree with."

Tolerance even in disagreement — how American is that?

Of protest, politics and poultry: Chick-fil-A, an American tale 08/02/12 [Last modified: Thursday, August 2, 2012 10:04pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays pitchers rave about Twins pitching coach, ex-mentor Neil Allen

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — There have been a lot of coaches who have had a hand in helping Chris Archer get to the big leagues and to the front of the Rays rotation, and as he took the mound Friday night at Target Field, he had reason to nod appreciatively toward the home dugout.

    Minnesota Twins pitching coach Neil Allen jogs back to the dugout after paying starting pitcher Tyler Duffey a visit on the mound in the first inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers on Thursday, July 7, 2016, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
  2. Swan sculpture deputies say was stolen by naked man found near Lakeland pond

    Crime

    A $25,000 swan sculpture that Polk County sheriff's deputies say was stolen by a naked man last weekend was found near a pond in Lakeland on Thursday.

    A swan sculpture that was stolen in Lakeland on May 19 was recovered by the Polk Sheriff’s Office on Friday.
  3. Mayor Rick Kriseman says election is about moving forward

    Blogs

    Mayor Rick Kriseman christened his campaign office  Friday evening by telling his supporters that the mayoral election was about moving forward, not backward..

    Mayor Rick Kriseman says mayoral election is about inclusiveness Friday at campaign office rally
  4. Mulberry teens, 15 and 18, killed when cars collide at Plant City intersection

    Accidents

    MULBERRY — The local high school has an enrollment of 1,000 but to some it feels like a tight-knit family. Many of Mulberry High School's students have spent all of their school days within the city limits, said principal Michael Young.

    Pepe Salgado, 18, was killed Friday along with his sister Frinzi Salgado-Diaz, 15, in a car crash in Plant City. They were passengers in a car driven by their cousin Edilberto Nava-Marcos, 18, who was transported to Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center and was listed in critical condition. All three lived in Mulberry and attended Mulberry High School. [Polk County School District]
  5. Assisted living facility owner accused of sexually assaulting employee in Pinellas

    Crime

    ST. PETERSBURG — An assisted living facility owner was arrested Thursday on charges that he sexually assaulted an employee, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office said.