In my rant about the inanity surrounding Chick-fil-a’s anti-gay rights stance, I didn’t make it very clear what I meant by saying “Going to Chick-fil-a isn’t making a statement.” Instead of editing that post, I’d rather take more room here to explain exactly what I’m talking about.
I’ve seen a quite a few descriptions calling it “activism” when people headed to local Chick-fil-a restaurants on Huckabee’s CFA Appreciation Day. I’ve seen people calling it “making a statement.”
I’ve seen lots of images like this one, comparing the people going to Chick-fil-a to the people who protested integration during the Civil Rights Movement, or the people trying to stop the repeal of anti-miscegenation laws to fight interracial marriages.
While perfectly well-intentioned, these images are doing a disservice to all the dumbfuck 1950s and 60s racists who turned out to protest. Because at least they were going somewhere they didn’t already want to be.
Taking a stand, fighting for what you believe in, and even making a statement requires at least a minimum of personal risk or sacrifice. You’re putting your personal safety at risk, you’re putting your money behind a cause, you’re taking the time to explain your position, or you’re putting yourself at risk of public disapproval for taking an unpopular position.
Having a delicious chicken sandwich for lunch does none of those things.
At least in the United States, we’ve almost completely lost the idea of what true activism actually is. The internet’s made it increasingly easier to “take a stand” without actually doing anything, apart from sending a link on Twitter (and now we can even just hit “Retweet”), or taking an image, writing something on it in Impact, and putting it up on Facebook. Even when people try to do a well-intentioned old-school protest like Occupy Wall Street, the message is all muddled, and it just opens itself up for mockery as much as any Love-In. Even when the cops come in with riot shields and people actually get hurt, it turns the message of income disparity into a message about the police state.
And I already said that anti-gay rights activists have grossly misrepresented themselves to the media. Instead of being ethical and accurately reporting on the situation, the media has simply transcribed their claims, dutifully used all the right-wing NewSpeak terminology like “defense of traditional marriage,” and presented it as a “controversy” or a “difference of opinion.” Whenever one of these bigots claims that his traditional values are under attack, or his religious beliefs are under attack, the media never questions it, and never points out the basic truth that they are the ones imposing their beliefs on a minority.
Once again: people fighting against marriage equality lose nothing, the minority of homosexuals lose everything.
What Huckabee has done is combine slacktivism with the already absurd oppressors-whining-that-they’re-being-oppressed hypocrisy of the fight against gay rights, into one elegantly meaningless day of eating fast food while pretending it’s some kind of statement.
It’s not even like they’re settling for Jack In The Box or anything.
So all the people interviewed at Chick-fil-a restaurants on August 1st: hope you enjoyed your lunch, you dumb fucks! Unlike that Yahoo! reporter, don’t expect me to give even the most infinitesimal shred of validity to your opinions, since you’ve done absolutely nothing to justify or defend those opinions.
(That goes almost as well for the gay couples pledging to show up at the restaurants for a “kiss-in” for anything other than a mockery of how absurd the whole thing is in the first place).
And I will say this, for all the “good for Chick-fil-a now I don’t gotta worry ’bout no fags given’ me AIDS sandwiches!!” morons, and the woman quoted as saying “We believe that scripturally, in the Bible, the Lord states that marriage is between a man and a woman. And marriage between two women together, two men together is detestable to him” in that Yahoo! article: yes, you are willfully ignorant bigots violating the very notion of religion and community, and you will know an eternity of torment as your tainted, corrupted soul will be forever barred from union with the purity of God’s light. But at least you’re taking the slightest, most inconsequential shred of a risk by saying something that’s not politically correct.
But this guy, on the other hand:
For those like John Mohler, 50, of Thornton, Colo., eating at Chick-fil-A on Wednesday was about defending free speech. Mohler said he doesn’t share Cathy’s belief–only his rights to air them.
“I’m not sure I agree with his position on gay marriage,” said Mohler, who drove to Englewood from downtown Denver on his lunch break. “But I applaud the owner for speaking his mind, and that’s why I’m here.”
Congratulations, sir! You are officially the Biggest Pussy In The United States. Not only are you “defending free speech” by going to a fast food restaurant on your lunch break, and not only are you giving money to organizations with a proven record of introducing anti-gay rights referendums in states all across the country specifically designed to limit the freedoms of strangers. You don’t even have the stones to admit that that’s what you’re doing.
If activism is so easy, then I’m going to make a statement of my own. Let’s see, I really like that Moose Tracks Ice Cream… oh, snap! Right here on the box, it says the milk comes from cows not treated with rBST! So yeah, I’m making a stand against bovine growth hormones! Take that, corporate farming fat cats! Don’t you try to suppress my freedom of speech! (Damn, how do they make these little peanut butter cups taste so good?)
As our economy falters and our long-standing industries fail; as we’re overtaken by other countries in education, public safety, quality of life, and scientific development; there is one thing that the United States of America has historically been excellent at doing, from the founding of the colonies through the turn of the 21st Century: using power and determination to actively suppress the rights of a minority.
And now you lazy fucks are even ruining that.