The restaurant known for inventing the chicken sandwich was under the microscope last week. One week simultaneously saw Chick-Fil-A supporters wait in long lines to show their allegiance to the company as well as “kiss ins” from same sex couples there to make a statement.
Chick-Fil-A has been in headlines for months after company president Dan Cathy answered “guilty as charged” in an interview asking whether he supports the biblical definition of the family.
“I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist as Him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage,” Cathy said during the interview.
Things snowballed from there, and the chicken chain saw their relationship with Jim Henson Company dissolve, and Muppet toys for kids’ meals stopped. Next, a public letter from the democratic mayor of Boston invited them to reconsider opening a store in Boston.
Up until the mayor stepped in, this entire episode was outside of politics.
Sometimes a political act is so undeniably calculated and partisan you can see right through it. Boston’s mayor sure looked that way. That was also how the choice of Gov. Sarah Palin as the Vice Presidential nominee looked. Although it seemed to work in Sen. McCain’s (R-Ariz) favor in the end, the choice was transparent.
Another similarly transparent move made recently was President Obama’s political move on gay rights. Vice President Biden said he was “absolutely comfortable” with gay marriage on a Sunday talk show, which was a change of position for the administration, as far as most people knew. Days afterward, Obama came out in his own television appearance in support of gay marriage, saying his stance on the issue had “evolved.”
“I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married,” Obama said.
In 2008, candidate Obama said he didn’t support gay marriage. If you believed that then, you probably didn’t whole-heartedly. Obama is a liberal man, and he probably did believe in gay marriage then, he probably just did not see a way to make it a winning issue. That’s not a criticism. He had a different purpose at the time. He certainly could not campaign on every single issue the way his predecessor, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass), had in 2004, only to watch his overall message get lost in crowd of mini-messages. We know the result of that campaign strategy.
So, Obama decided not to make that an issue for his campaign. During his first term he did focus on a few gay rights issues that furthered the cause, including repealing the military’s policy on gays and lesbians serving in the Armed Forces, ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.’
But on May 9, he made a calculated decision to come out in support of gay marriage. It went something like this: “I’m for gay marriage, but I’m not going to do anything about it. Support me anyway, please.”
The GLBT community fell for it, hook, line and sinker.
What he really said was that he supports gay marriage, but that it’s a state issue that states will have to deal with. All at once, he got favorability from one demographic without having to commit to any given action. States’ rights weren’t sacred in the healthcare battle, yet suddenly the federal government must stay back. He also waited until the end of his first term to come to this position, a time when no one expects any political action but fundraising is at an all time high.
Yet, instead of a spotlight on this oddly timed change of position, all of the energy on this issue is focused against a restaurant that really has no power. The most Dan Cathy can accomplish is cooking chicken. Certainly, some of the things he said are against the grain for a lot of people, but that’s pretty much where the buck stops. One man’s opinion.
On the other hand, a man with real power, arguably the most powerful man in the world, made no single move whatsoever to assist the GLBT community on the issue of gay marriage. Sounds like the “kiss ins” should look for a new meeting place, perhaps 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.