These are trying times for Chick-fil-A employees. First, the company's CEO makes a jackass of himself by taking a stance against gay marriage. Then comes a public backlash. Then, conservatives descend on the chain's restaurants after being instructed to do so by their talk-radio masters.
Following that, same-sex couples show up at the stores for a 'kiss-in.'
Meanwhile, the employees still have to prep the next day's food, clean out the fryers, scrub the bathrooms and do all the things that make working at a fast-food restaurant a really crappy job.
It's not that big a deal that Chick-fil-A has a CEO with zany religious beliefs. Some of the bosses I've had in my life have been bigots, sex addicts, Republicans and other kinds of moral degenerates. You show up to work, do the job, collect the checks and go about your life.
I haven't had Chick-fil-A in 20 years or more and have no plans to eat there anytime soon. But if I were on a road trip, starving to death, and it was the only restaurant available, I wouldn't feel any moral guilt. They sell good food.
We've reached some strange state of affairs in our country where any kind of dissension from the norm is considered treasonous. The Dixie Chicks trashed President George W. Bush and their career along with it. Hank Williams Jr. said some ignorant redneck things about President Barack Obama and ruined what was left of the country singer's career.
Why is there a need to organize boycotts against businesses and individuals with different beliefs than our own? The capitalist system in the United States has never been like this until recently. We had no problem buying gold mined by slave laborers in Soviet mines in the 1930s or clothes and toys made by Chinese slave workers now.
And holding legitimate political viewpoints is no reason to organize mass boycotts of businesses now. Chick-fil-A's owner may have beliefs I find offensive but that isn't the fault of the people who work there. Charlie Daniels and Ted Nugent talk shit about the president all of the time but they still can play music well.
Chick-fil-A is a $4 billion a year business, according to published reports. If the company wants to give a small fraction of that to anti-gay marriage groups, who am I to tell them not to? If I ran a $4 billion business, I'd be supporting strip clubs and radical political groups of my own choosing.
Right now, there are Christian groups outraged about an Oreos ad in support of gay pride showing a cookie with rainbow filling. Liberals are angry at Urban Outfitters because its owner gave money to Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum. And the list of other boycotts seems endless.
If one judged companies solely on the actions of their chief executives, then I'd never be able to consume a lot of products. Coca-Cola gives money to the parties in power, which means I'd only be able to drink Coke Zero during Democratic administrations. Pepsi employed Richard Nixon as a lobbyist in the 1960s; should I not drink Diet Pepsi because of his alleged war crimes during the Vietnam War?
If I cared that much about the political beliefs of the companies whose products I consume, I couldn't order a pizza, make a telephone call or even watch cable TV or use the Internet.
If it gets to the point where we have to Google each and every company with which we do business just to make sure it is on the right side of the issues, then we have truly lost something valuable.
The CEO of Starbucks, a company I support several times a week, has taken a positive step by vowing not to make political contributions and has gotten more than 100 peers to agree with him. That puts Starbucks in a neutral territory. If, like me, you enjoy their coffee and pastries, please continue to support them. If, like some of my friends, you think their coffee tastes like pee, then don't go to their stores.
The same with Chick-fil-A. I've never really enjoyed their sandwiches. But if you're a gay person and you love their food, I'm sure they'd be happy to take your money and treat you in a dignified manner. The person serving you the food might be gay, for all you know.
Base your decisions on goods and services by their quality and value, not the political beliefs of their owners. When people organize boycotts against Rush Limbaugh advertisers or Dixie Chicks concerts, it reminds me of the purges of the Stalin era in the Soviet Union. I vote against Limbaugh by not listening to his idiotic show.
But I don't waste my time trying to get other people to do the same or not to buy products advertised on his show. If I ran a company and I needed to reach a lot of narrow-minded, elderly and poorly educated people in a hurry, damn right I'd buy time on Rush's show.
We have too many real problems in our country without creating phony ones. So either go to Chick-fil-A or don't, but please be quiet about it. We need to get back to work fixing America.