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It’s Okay to Boycott Chick-fil-A

I’ve been late to the “let’s talk about Chick-fil-A (ad nauseam)” party, because I’m not sure my opinion on the matter is going to jibe well with readers on this site or in the Conservative bloggersphere in general, but here it goes.  If gay Americans (or any Americans) want to boycott Chick-fil-A, then that’s okay.  It’s their money; it’s their diet; it’s their choice.

And to be honest with you, I’m quite the boycotting son of a gun, myself.  My boycotts typically involve the entertainment industry, and most of my friends think they’re completely irrational, but again… it’s my money, and it’s my choice, so it’s not like anyone is going to stop me.  Since we’re here, I thought I might share some of them with you.

RUSSELL BRAND
I will never watch a movie that casts him as the central character, and if I can help it, I try to never watch any movie or TV show that he’s involved in.  Why?  Click this link and watch him call former President George W. Bush a “retarded cowboy” on an American award show, no less.  (he’s from Britain, in case you didn’t know)

MORGAN FREEMAN
One of America’s most treasured actors lost me the day he said the Tea Party was racist.  You should’ve kept reading from a script, Morgan.  I’ll probably avoid your films from here on out.

LUDACRIS
A lot readers may not be familiar with this rapper/actor, but Ludacris has actually turned in some solid performances in both the rap industry and in some movies over the last ten years.  My problem with him arose in 2008 when I become aware of this “gem” of a rap song where he said that John McCain basically deserved to be in a wheel chair and Hillary Clinton was an “irrelevant b*tch”.  After that, I was done.

GEORGE LOPEZ
Mr. Lopez has a special place in my celebrity purgatory for referring to Sarah Palin as a “b*tch” (in Spanish) on his now defunct nightly talk show.  What’s especially insulting is that he often performs in big budget children’s films.  Think about that…  If a white actor referred to a black female politician as a “b*tch”, would they be offered roles in children’s films?  And yet, many of you are probably unaware that this ever took place.  I’ll tell you this much, I even refused to download the Angry Birds Rio game (at the height of my former Angry Birds addiction), because I will not spend one penny on any property that involves him.

And these are just my personal (possibly silly) boycotts.  I disagree with how these celebrities have abused or leveraged their platforms, so I seek to diminish the influence they have.  But what if I were gay?  How would I feel about Chick-fil-A?  Honestly, I’d be pretty mad.

When discussing this Chick-fil-A controversy, we keep saying Dan Cathy has a right to support “traditional marriage”, and he does.  Just because you’re the head of a company, it doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to have an opinion.  The “problem” that gay Americans have isn’t really rooted in Cathy’s opinion, however; it has more to do with the money that Chick-fil-A is donating to groups that are considered to be anti-gay.  If you’re a gay person, you have to reconcile with the fact that every time you eat at this restaurant, some portion of your purchase might go to an organization that seeks to work against you.  And for many gays that’s not a reconciliation they’re prepared to make.  To be honest, I don’t blame them.

Where things take a turn for the ugly, however, is when politicians threaten to keep Chick-fil-A out of their communities over this political disagreement.  That is wrong, and there’s simply no place for it.  I said just as much on my radio show last week, and I’ve heard the sentiment echoed over the last several days, so I won’t focus on that too much in this post.  But know that even though I can understand why gays would want to boycott Chick-fil-A, I give no quarter to politicians who would threaten private companies over political disputes.

So where do I stand in the middle of all of this?  In a way, it’s easy for me to cop-out, because I don’t eat at Chick-fil-A.  I’m more of a burger man, and it’s not like Carl’s Jr. doesn’t have waffle fries, so regardless of my political decision, in practice, I’ve already been “boycotting” them most of my life.

The other reason I’m inclined to proffer a cop-out is this:  If I take a stand on Chick-fil-A, I’m going to have to investigate what every restaurant I patronize does with my money, and that’s something that’s probably not as easy to research as I’d like it to be.

However I’ll say this:  I already don’t eat there, so I’m going to continue the status quo as far as that’s concerned.  I’m also not going to visit a Chick-fil-A and post a picture of myself doing it, because I feel like that antagonizes gay Americans in a way that I’d rather not do.  But also (and quite importantly), I’m not going to judge the thousands of people who have supported Chick-fil-A throughout the past couple of weeks, because I appreciate the free speech argument, and I think that’s why most people did it.  I also think that a lot of people haven’t asked themselves what they would do if they knew that the restaurant they patronized was donating money to groups that actively work against them.

So in summary… Boycotts are fine; they’re your choice, and I participate in them in my own life.  Politicians threatening private companies over political disagreements is unacceptable.  And I understand why thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of people have supported Chick-fil-A, especially those who feel like Dan Cathy’s (and Chick-fil-A’s) freedom of speech have been threatened.

More than anything, this post has been me sharing what’s on my mind, and given how this topic hits most of us in a personal way, I figured I’d share my whole train of thought.  But also, I hope some of you can use this as a chance to look inside yourselves and view this topic from a perspective that might not be so black and white.  Many of you might have more to say on this than you originally realized.  This national discussion has dragged out long enough that we might as well try and get something out of it.  A deeper understanding of our own perspectives might not be a bad place to start.

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