We all do something stupid occasionally. Usually we realize it, apologize to those we have wronged and learn from our mistake. America is a very forgiving nation. Americans tend to dismiss a lone transgression with the attitude of: we all make mistakes and are not in a position to cast the first stone. Chick-fil-A president and Chief Operating Officer, Dan T. Cathy, obviously never learned that lesson or did not appreciate the forgiveness bestowed upon him from most Americans because; well, he did it again.
In 2012 he started a controversy with his remark, “We are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage”. Most Americans forgave him. Again the reasoning was everybody says something stupid sometime in their life.
Last Wednesday in response to the Supreme Court’s ruling on DOMA Cathy tweeted: “Sad day for our nation; founding fathers would be ashamed of our gen. to abandon wisdom of the ages re: cornerstone of strong societies”. Cathy soon took the tweet down. As the news media picked up on the comment and it being taken down, Chick-fil-A spokesman Jerry Johnson issued the following statement: “He realized his view’s didn’t necessarily represent the views of all customers, restaurant owners and employees and didn’t want to distract them from providing a great restaurant experience.”
Let’s dissect the original tweet and the corporate statement. Whether you agree with Cathy’s views or not – and I certainly do not – the reference to a group of like thinking founding fathers who agreed on everything is part of the right wing’s fictional version of history. Any student of the founding documents knows that they were a product of compromise. Need a few examples? The two chambers of the legislative branch are a compromise between small and large population states. The infamous three-fifths compromise was a deal stuck between the slave and non-slave states. In fact, the original Constitution was so unpopular that the ten amendments of the Bill of Rights had to be added to get it approved. There was about as much consensus of opinion among the founding fathers as there would be in a meeting of Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell and John Boehner.
The statement in defense of the taking down of the tweet is about as insincere as possible. What it really said was: the boss meant everything he said but our P.R. people realized it was bad for business, and stop in for lunch. It was also an appealed to Americans’ basic sense of fairness. It implied, the boss may be a jerk, but if you don’t patronize our restaurants you are just penalizing the poor franchisees. We have seen this strategy before with corporations like BP and Papa John’s. Keep in mind those franchisees remit a portion of every sale to the corporation, regardless of whether their individual location is profitable or not. Where is corporate’s concern for them in that instance?
It always intrigues me as to just who these right wing extremists are. As I looked into Cathy’s background I found he has something in common with many of his radical peers who have money and use it to further extremist causes: he is a member of the lucky sperm cell club. Chick-fil-A was founded by his father, S. Truett Cathy. His first job out of college was Director of Operations for daddy’s company. Is that what you call working your way from the bottom up? One of his hobbies is piloting, not exactly a poor man’s pastime. I wonder just how well he can empathize with the hard working American to whom spending $20 to $30 to take the family to Chick-fil-A for a meal is actually a decision.
Cathy’s company does make a tasty chicken sandwich. I am asking all progressives to join me in giving it up. There are other things to nourish our bodies with besides chicken and other places other than Chick-fil-A to eat.
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