Chick-Fil-Late

Inside:  Late to the game as usual; Just another drop in the rain; Thinking it through; A fair amount of Dundalk people seem to have ate at Chick-Fil-A on Wednesday

PDA

I don’t wanna see anybody making out in public.  Straight or gay.  I walked to the Starbucks near where I work — near the Ballston Metro — and there was an older guy in a suit who I dubbed Berlusconi and professional dressed woman who I dubbed Margaret Cho.  He was standing, she was kind of sitting.  He would lean over, lick her bottom lip and kiss her.  Lean over, kiss her bottom lip, suck on her lip, run his tongue across her teeth and kiss her.  All the while he was kind of looking around, noticing who was noticing.

It was like watching a bird feeding its birdlings.  Except also kind of gross.  Then they stood up and went inside the building to go — wherever.  Back to work?  Why couldn’t they have done that inside.

But whatever.  You know.  I’m a square.  I know it.  But still.  Affection is great.  Making out in public?  Meh.

I’ve only been to Chick-Fil-A a few times.  The most recent time was back in 2003, driving across the country, stopped at a mall food court somewhere in Texas.  It was fast food.  The sandwich wasn’t as good as I remembered and the lemonade was a bit skanky.  Not that it’s always like that.  It was a mall food court in between major cities.

I don’t enjoy being at the whim of reacting to every trend or protest that goes viral.  Then again, I usually don’t like large crowds of people anyway.  I’m weird that way.

Like, all of a sudden I’m supposed to hate or run to a store based on the owner’s beliefs and it isn’t even news (in that it’s not new, unexpected or inconsistent with what we already knew)?

I understand that it creates an opportunity to grab attention and air grievances.  I mean, go for it.  Do what you gotta do.  I probably won’t jump on board for the same reason I won’t repost those things that go around Facebook.

“I love Jesus.  If you love Jesus, repost this.  A lot of people don’t have the character to stand up for their beliefs.  If you don’t post this you deserve to be smitten with flaming genital warts.”

“Kittens, puppies and bunnies are cute.  If you don’t repost this you’re a kid toucher.”

Slight hyperbole.

When there’s a lot of support against what you’re fighting for

The thing I really respect about the Civil Rights generation is that all of those events were about dignity.  Literally, black people were trying to be accepted as actual human beings who deserved the rights of white America.  Or communicating that the rights that we had/have were being denied and shat upon by a society and culture of racist asshats.  Plus regular people including churches and The Church who just went along with the program.

But if you watch footage and see photos you’ll notice that protesters and marchers were always in their Sunday best.  Suits and ties.  Collared shirts and hats.  Buttoned down.  The sit-ins were quiet and dignified.  Sometimes silent.  Same with Ghandi, actually.

I wonder how different things would be if everyone with something worth fighting for took cues from many of today’s protesters.

Get in their face, be angry, yell, curse, express rage, get in their comfort zone and take a steaming crap in it.  “You don’t like mixing of the races?  Well, what if I dry hump this barely legal white girl right here on the steps of the state capitol, Bull Douchebag?”

“You’ve got negative stereotypes about me?  Well, now we’re going to march down the street wearing watermelons on our head, wearing basketball jerseys, wearing fried chicken paper buckets for shoes, blasting 2 Live Crew, won’t conjugate a single ‘to be'”, playing dice, flipping straight razors and stealing hubcaps.”

Okay, I got a little bit ridiculous and anachronistic with that second one, but you get my point.  It’s the difference between, “Gimme gimme what’s mine, you racist hateful dumbsh*t.” and “You know in your heart and your beliefs that we are treated unfairly and inhumanely judging by your own set of professed ideals.  We want equal rights.  We don’t want to take anything from you.  We want to live side by side and have the same freedoms and opportunities.  I intend no disrespect, but I will not vacate the premises until I am served like your other guests.”

I guess the loudest get the most attention, though, especially in an age of street-level media.  In a way, we’re all journalists now.

What am I saying here.  Gay marriage is on its way.  I just think that the national dialog and respect for LGBT rights and peoples will be much more respectful and supportive if it’s a dignified fight as opposed to reactionary street performance or flash mob.

“With all due respect to your beliefs, I deserve equal rights and treatment now.  We are your brothers and sister, sons and daughters.  We’re your neighbors and co-workers and your lives and society haven’t fallen apart now that we’re here and not as afraid of coming out and expressing ourselves and our love.”

As opposed to standing up in a room and yelling.  The pay-attention-to-me-now-daddy approach.

Protest vs. tantrum?

Then again, I’m not of the current generation so take that into account.

Record breaking sales??

I think that’s why, among other reasons, Chick-Fil-A had so much support this past Wednesday.  The company is known to be run by a Christian and with a certain set of values.  That’s not new.  It’s also not new that they donate to quasi-political conservative Christian organizations.

A LOT of people are still a little homophobic.  Well, a lot are extremely homophobic.  Frankly, religion isn’t necessarily the issue.  You’ll notice that people who are either not very religious or who are the worst Christians/Catholics on Earth if you judge them by how they behave are sometimes the most offensive and ignorant.

Still, there are a lot of folks who don’t like the idea of being pushed around or having a business that they like being told what to do and how to think.  The Mayors made matters worse because they were essentially saying that the city-level governments would discriminate against organizations that hold certain beliefs (regardless of whether or not you agree).

It would be a different matter if Chick-Fil-A treated LGBTs any differently than others.  Then they’d be breaking the law, I assume, and would deserve government level wrath.

Two-Edged Sword

I listen to a number of conservative Christian podcasts — less than before — even though I don’t agree with much of what they say.  But they definitely make a stink when a company comes out in favor of gay marriage or health insurance that covers gay domestic partners and that kind of thing.  They sometimes suggest boycotts or a more subtle “be prayerful about where you spend your money”.

So this Chick-Fil-A thing is just in the other direction.  Everybody’s acting so surprised and offended but everybody’s doing it.

Disagreement Doesn’t Necessarily Equal Hate

And yet, they’re both right regarding the First Amendment.  Free-ish society.  You can say what you want.  Others can react in a lawful way to what you say.  There will be consequences.  There will be times when some group or person decides to make a case to the media and the public about what you say.  The timing may be opportunistic or politically motivated or whatever.  That’s just the way it is.

Still, I’d like to say that just because people disagree with gay marriage doesn’t automatically make them hateful bigots.

I mean, the Civil Rights movement used a carrot and a stick.  Guilt and a call to strive for ideals.  Pointing out the bad nature while emphasizing the good nature that we want to achieve.

I know some religious people.  They believe that homosexuality is a sin.  But if you put them in a room with gay people (like the gay people that they know) or someone they knew or worked with came out as gay, they wouldn’t start suddenly persecuting or throwing stones at people’s torsos.  They’d say, “We disagree but we love you.  Do you want more mashed potatoes?”

Let me be real here.  Some close to the family and even family members have made a point of telling the kids in our family that gayness is a sin.  Sinning leads to hell.  The kids take this as gay people are bad.  Or that gets lumped in with gay = stranger danger.

I’ve had to intervene when the kids would in turn make fun of gay people or talk smack about them.  Of course, I’ve had to do the same when they make fun of or laugh at obese people.

Still, my more religious family members are not hateful.  Not by a long stretch.  Not by any means.  They are the most loving, generous people you’d want to meet.  They are, however, “traditional”, for lack of a better word.

It’s a complex relationship.

Slightly More than An Analogy

Here’s an analogy that probably won’t hold up for long.  Okay.  Some people think that drugs should be legal.  I do not believe that people should do heroin and crack.  I don’t believe they should be legal and I feel strongly about it.  I had a friend who was a drug addict.  I hated the fact that he was addicted to drugs.  I hated the fact that he used drugs.  And I can tell you without hesitation that I loved him profoundly.  I tried to help him when I could.  I struggled with trying to help without helping him score drugs.  In that case — the whole addict thing — I loved him but I didn’t completely trust him.  I had to set boundaries.

Unfortunately, he died a few years ago.  Or was murdered, actually.  The newspapers, one little blurb article mentioned that he was an ex-con.  A drug addicted ex-con, if you want to be brutal.  He did stuff that I can not truck with, and yet he was like a little brother.   I have a stack of correspondence that I still read sometimes from when he was in prison and it wrecks me that he’s gone.

Complex, for real. (Just so you know that this isn’t lip service.)

I absolutely fricking HATED his addiction on a visceral level and I absolutely LOVED the addict for all of his kindness, talent, warmth and a pure kind of vulnerable beauty of his soul.

So I can see how it’s possible to “hate the sin” (or disagree with or even be repulsed by what a person does that you can’t relate to) and “love the sinner” (or care about and love your friend, acquaintance, relative).  It’s reasonable to make that distinction and it’s reasonable to accept the distinction.  That doesn’t stop the need for LGBT people to fight for marriage or equal partnership and benefits but it would change the tone.

So how do you win over loved ones?  Okay, this is a little pie in the sky.  My personal belief and philosophy is that you “win” an argument with love and compassion.  With respect, not venom and vitriol.  You may have a right to be angry, and yet lashing out in anger makes enemies.  That goes both ways, obviously.

The Truth without Love can be as harmful and humiliating as an insult.

The Truth with Love and Compassion is an invitation to constructive change.

Coming to Grips

Eh.  I need a nap.

Oh well.  The world ain’t gonna change because of my little opinions.

I’m just saying that a little respect goes a long way especially when you’re fighting for change, which is inherently unsettling and sometimes threatening.

Keep your wits about you, peoples.  And have a great weekend.

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3 comments

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  1. JennellEvans

    Your writing is amazing! I just read this & then read it aloud to my husband, who loved it. We think you should have your a platform that reaches millions with your wit & wisdom. TV or your own radio show must be in your future! Seriously, have you thought about it? Thanks for sharing your well crafted thoughts. You are an artist with words!!

  2. sara moore

    Jennell said it way better than I can, but I’m justing sitting here thinking, “WOW”. I mean WOW!!!! I love this, and can relate to this. You are amazing!

  3. garyarthuryoung

    Thank you both for reading. There’s a lot of other ways you could be spending your time (like doing snatch sets) so I appreciate it.

    I’ve thought about podcasts but not TV and radio. Don’t think I’m enough of a blowhard for that.

    I do like to write, though. Editorials, obviously. It’s a dream of mine to write a novel some day. Or to collect all the short stories and beginnings of stories I have laying around and form them into something cohesive.

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