All We Are Saying Is Give Me a Sandwich

A clarification on what it means to make a statement.

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.”

OldtimeyracistsI’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.

2 thoughts on “All We Are Saying Is Give Me a Sandwich”

  1. “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.”

    Thing is, and yes, it’s as low a bar as you can get, they are putting their money “behind a cause”. They’ve driven to this stupid restaurant and decided to spend money (money which will eventually go in part to fund anti-gay causes) *specifically because* they will go to anti-gay causes. Their risk is minimal, and their position is ludicrous, it’s not a “brave” position to take (but I bet they believe it is) but it is a.) a position, b.) spending money towards that end.

    Yeah, it *is* as slackerly a stand as your example, but the catch is that they’re not having a sandwich then incidentally taking up a cause. They’re eating the sandwich at that time *because* of the cause, and I don’t know how that’s different, other than it’s probably the best a lazy asshole can manage.

  2. “Having a sandwich then incidentally taking up a cause” is exactly what they’re doing. It doesn’t matter whether they’re saying “I’m gonna show them liberal queer-lovers a thing or two” on their way to the restaurant, at the register, or on Facebook afterwards. There’s absolutely no down side or sacrifice involved. It’s not taking a position any more than I’d be taking a position by saying I’m pro-oxygen.

    As for the money, if they were actually putting money to a cause, they’d be donating to Exodus International or Focus on the Family or NOM or whomever. What they’re doing is putting their money towards the purchase of lunch.

    For a counter-example: To this point, I’ve done jack shit to actually protest Chick-fil-a. I’ve retweeted some messages and put stuff on Facebook, and written a couple of blog posts. Even if there were a restaurant in the area, I wouldn’t go there knowing what I know now. But that’s just common sense, it’s not a statement.

    For me to be protesting, I’d have to be making a donation to GLAAD or the like, as some of my (straight) friends have already done. Or doing anything that takes any amount of effort or risk at all, actually.

    At this very second, tons of homophobes are saying nasty shit on the internet. But it’s not a message, it’s background noise. It’d be stupid to pay any attention to it; it’s almost giving it too much credit to even link to it here. It doesn’t do anything. With free speech, you get what you pay for.

    I’m saying don’t even dignify it as lazy activism. Call it for what it is: meaningless.

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