Since there’s apparently no escaping the current Chick-fil-A controversy, I’ve gotta ask: Are anti-Chick-fil-A activists actually promoting the tolerance they demand, or are they teaching kids to loudly and publicly demonize those who disagree with them? Despite having another means of redress – i.e. a choice not to give the restaurant chain their money – many Chick-fil-A activists seem to be celebrating their martyrdom instead.
The carnival-like atmosphere captured by news cameras shows singing and dancing, face-painting, colorful costumes, banners, and laughter-loving friends lining sidewalks and holding hands. Problem is, most of those cheery signs are emblazoned with the word, “HATE,” so I’m left wondering what the impressions of a six-year-old watching this spectacle might be.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure America’s parents are taking time between smartphone Facebook updates to explain these subtleties to their children, but what about those kids holding a TV remote (or any networked digital device) whose parents aren’t even in the room?
And here’s another interesting complication: many of the folks these activists seem to be targeting with their “Hate”-laden messages (against hate) are wearing clothes decorated with the icons of patriotism. So…if the “bad” guys are wearing American flags… Do you see what I’m gettin’ at? You and I may know the difference, but is Junior getting the message? The right message, that is?
Mind you, any group claiming “more patriotism” than another group makes me sick, especially those who insist that patriotism and moral judgment go hand-in-hand. Poseurs and bandwagoners aren’t any better, but those who just need the attention — like our tagger up top — are the most annoying of all. Hopefully parents can teach their kids that this idiot’s actions did little more than hurt the local owner of that particular Chick-fil-A. Rather than furthering any cause — and in fact probably turning potential supporters off instead — this is the excuse of validation-hungry A-hole. Said cabbage-head has ex Vante, Inc. CFO Adam Smith to keep him company: Smith seems to think that brow-beating remarkably professional minimum wage drive-thru workers is a good thing. Was Smith the victim of a Chick-fil-A employee hate crime, you ask? Nope! He just felt the need to be a part of the problem — and he probably thinks he did it in the name of being part of the solution. Talk about mixed messages for kids!
Let me be clear on something here: I’m not questioning the rationale of the activists or boycotters: they’re entitled to their beliefs. Neither am I questioning Chick-fil-A franchise owner Dan Cathy for saying he and his profits support the “biblical definition of the family unit.” Not my cup of tea, but goody for him: that’s what free speech and free enterprise entitle him to do. I’m questioning the message this uproar is sending, and not because it’s controversial or threatening to either “traditional” marriage or gay rights. My concern is the average parent’s ability to distill such messages for their kids and keep the dialog from narrowing to pointlessness. Issues are issues: these days, nothing is scarier than parents’ inability (or unwillingness) to prepare a generation of children to reasonably address them.