Why Does My Chicken Have to be Politicized?

6 08 2012

Oh foolish chicken and your dreams of not being questioned…

I’m sure by now you’ve all heard about the protests for and against Chick-fil-A. If not, read here. I won’t bother in repeating everything. Here’s the thing, though, in reading all the back and forth about the controversy with the company, one thing has continued to confuse me. It’s not necessarily the why as in “why is this such a big deal,” but moreso the why as in “WHY was it necessary to reveal?”

I know, I’m probably stepping on some toes here. I know a lot of folks are going to say that it’s the owner’s right to voice his opinion. And it is, but it’s also my right to wonder why my chicken needs to now be a symbol of anything other than a good meal.

To wit, a writer for the LA Times recently wrote, “Just two weeks ago, Chick-fil-A was a fast-food restaurant best known for chicken sandwiches and cross-cut fries. Now the chain is known for much more, chiefly its leadership’s opposition to gay marriage.”

This writer is absolutely correct, and whether you stand for or against the company’s opposition, it has to make you wonder how we got here, right? No? Is it just me?

Because the more I read and/or hear about this story, the more I’m perplexed. Does everything have to be political in this country now? Have we gotten to the point that what I eat and wear speaks to my beliefs on social issues and tells someone whether or not I lean liberal or conservative? Or am I just being naive and it’s been that way all along?

Look, maybe my questioning has to do with the fact that I can’t now in good conscience go to the Chick-fil-A truck that just opened in DC because I feel like I’d be failing my good friends who are gay. And mind you, this is not because any of them have said to me, “don’t go to Chick-fil-A.” Rather, it’s because I feel like if a company purposely admitted to feeling like I shouldn’t marry who I wanted simply because I’m a black person and then funded other companies who fought to stop me from marrying someone just because I’m a black person, I would want my non-black friends to say, “you know what? As good as the chicken is, it’s not worth it.”

But the questions still remains, why do we even need to make that decision in the first place? I guess it’s one of those questions in which I’ll never fully be satisfied with the answer. The reality is that it just is what it is now. Chick-fil-A has decided to make themselves a political symbol (intentionally or not) and we’re seeing the ramifications on both sides because of it.

Can I just ask that no more companies decide to go this route? Is that too much to ask? Cuz I’d really like to keep my politics separated from other things as well, like say my shoe collection. It’s hard enough getting people to keep it separate from church. I’d like for the only things guiding my decision while shopping to be my bank account and my closet, not my socio-political beliefs. I know, I know… I’m being naive just like that chicken in the picture.

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