THE GREAT BEYOND

Posted in Rants on August 23rd, 2012 by Ed

Although the clamoring has died down, we all will mentally associate Chik-fil-A with either "Hates the gays" or "Good, God-fearing Christian business to support" (depending on our perspective) for a long time. Those of us who are conscientious about such things now know better than to give Chik-fil-A our money.

I struggle with the logic behind that. Stick with me for a second.

The only difference between Chik-fil-A and any other fast food chain – or any other large corporation for that matter – is that we know exactly what objectionable cause our money is being put toward. The CEO has chosen to be explicit about the ways in which he is using his obscene wealth to advance a specific right wing jihad. "Unfair" is the wrong term because it's entirely fair to criticize him for whatever opinion he chooses to express if you find it offensive. But why single them out just because you know while continuing to spend money that ends up funding equally objectionable causes without your specific knowledge?

In our plutocracy corporate-dominated economy we dump our money into black boxes all day, every day without any knowledge of what happens to it down the line. Can you even imagine what the money ends up doing when you buy gas? Coke? Anything from Wal-Mart? A car? Clothing? You're funding everything from gay-bashing to Koch Bros. style Teabagging to environmental degradation here and abroad to ethnic conflicts in underdeveloped countries to child slavery. The CEO of Chik-fil-A is either brave or dumb enough to have told you the specific ways in which he is a loathsome person. But you're not naive enough to think that the others about whom you know nothing (Quick! Name Target's CEO. You can't. His name is Gregg Steinhafel and he hates the gays too) are using your money to plant flowers, feed the poor, and teach blind children how to read.

I question the logic or effectiveness of targeting a specific fast food chain with a loose boycott (which is unlikely to accomplish much) when it is merely a symptom of an entire system that is rotten to the core. Unless you're living the college activist completely-off-the-grid lifestyle you are going to continue to funnel money to awful, awful people. Most of us deal with that through willful ignorance. Can you even imagine what oil companies and their executives are doing with the billions they've made? I don't want to know, and if it's anything less than murdering endangered seals with weapons fashioned from the bones of slightly less endangered seals I would be stunned. I don't say that to guilt anyone into feeling bad about their buying habits; it is only to emphasize that cutting one head off of the hydra isn't going to kill it.

Ultimately we all do what our conscience permits in these matters and social consciousness not high on the priority list of many Americans when they spend their money. If people could learn one thing from the Chik-fil-A ordeal, "Don't eat there because they hate the gays" isn't bad, but "Oh my god, our society concentrates wealth into the hands of an implausibly small number of completely amoral people who have no sense of social responsibility, place no value on human lives other than their own, and use the money they siphon from us to make our lives more miserable" would be superior.