Monthly Archives: July 2012

Exhibit: Chick-fil-A

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If you have been on Facebook lately, you might have seen posts such as the examples above, depending on what kind of friends you have (which side of the argument they’re on). And, naturally, having friends on both sides of the argument, I’ve had ample opportunity to express my own views on the matter.

Let me start off by saying:

I fully support their freedom to express and defend their beliefs. And regardless of whether I agree with them or not (for the record, I don’t), I am inclined to agree with the position of Voltaire. I believe it was something to the effect of, “while I despise everything you have to say, I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Chick-fil-A is wrong, very wrong; but they have a right to be wrong.

After that, the matter only gets more controversial

You see, Chick-fil-A finds itself in the middle of a very special circumstance. A circumstance of great power and opportunity and, most importantly, responsibility. If I may, I would like to enter into your consideration the context of their circumstance:

Chick-fil-A is, first and foremost, a business

And whether it’s sitcom writers for Family Guy, or the board of directors for a major fast food chain, businesses that dominate their respective markets have responsibilities towards their public. I believe Chick-fil-A recognises that. And while we can all agree that, as market leaders, they all share similar responsibilities, our agreement ends there. You see, it is ultimately up to their leaders to determine just what those responsibilities mean. And while I, and many others, believe they are making the wrong decision, it is still their choice to make.

Personally, given that position, I don’t know that I would fare any better

Not one of us is perfect and, given enough power and the right opportunities, any one of us could be doing just as much wrong to our people (if not more so) as Chick-fil-A, and with only the best intentions at heart, of course. Personally speaking, as much as I loathe this company, and the homophobic institutions it supports, I am afraid I have to adopt the Christian sentiment of “hating the sin, and not the sinner.” It’s ironic, I know. But you see, I pity them. I pity them just as I would pity anyone, given the situation. While some would consider them blessed or otherwise fortunate, I find such sentiments to be naive, and shortsighted at best. It’s remarkably unfair, tempting one with such seductive opportunities. It’s as intoxicating as it is corrosive, that kind of power! And one that would send even the saintliest of men to Hell — if there is such a place.

I blame the system for this, and those that helped to create it

A system where wealth doesn’t just equal freedom of speech, but the freedom to muffle one voice just to amplify another. In my not-so-humble opinion: if it takes money to exercise a freedom, it isn’t a freedom at all, but a privilege; nay, a luxury! You know, sometimes I think it’s like a high-stakes poker game: And if you don’t have enough chips to get started, you can’t play; regardless of how good a player you may be. Only in this game it isn’t just money at stake here, but our very freedoms; ultimately our lives they’re gambling away. So it doesn’t matter who’s playing, we all lose. Everyone, that is, but those who are “still in”. Isn’t that funny? I don’t think so either.

So no, I don’t blame Chick-fil-A (at least, not entirely) for their folly

They are merely the symptom of a very ill nation. Some might call it a cancer. But perhaps “cancer” is a bit harsh. I like to think this as a really bad case of kidney stones. Most especially because of the way one treats someone with kidney stones as large as these: You break them apart into small stones so that you can flush them out. And the smaller the stones, the easier they are to pass. The larger they are, the longer they will stay in the system, and the harder it is to get rid of them; not to mention all of the pain and bloodshed it will cost you in the long run. And as graphic as that image just was, I don’t think I can be any clearer about the solution to this problem: What I am suggesting is a renewed Declaration of Independence!

The good news is, the treatment for these stones may very well be our panacea

This nation was founded upon entrepreneurship and competition; small businesses led by eager Americans with ambitious hearts. And competition sparks creativity, innovation; ingenuity. But the inherent nature of a corporation is to expand and eliminate competition. In the case of freedom of speech, it means muffling or completely silencing competing voices: Messages of varied philosophies; of compromises, tolerance, peaceful cooperation; of the very solutions that would get us out of this mess. With such mounting grievances, is it any wonder that we’re falling behind in the world — and to oppressive nations like China, no less?

If the problem lies with corporations, then the solutions lies with co-operatives

While corporations consolidate wealth for the rich to exploit, co-operatives divvy up that wealth supporting a system that discourages such an unfair advantage. If vast sums of wealth can take away a freedom, then the division of that wealth can bring it back. It’s as simple as that. And yet it’s the hardest thing to do. Because the ones who have such power, and control our freedoms will not relinquish them so easily. It will take a lot more than persuasion. It will a something akin to a near death experience — an economic full stop.

A heart attack, as it were

If their lifeblood stops pumping, they will begin to suffocate. As it is, if we let them continue, that would still be the case; eventually. But only after they’ve grown too large to accommodate their own size, and not before sopping up the remainder of our nations wealth; giving birth to a litter of new behemoth businesses, ravaging foreign lands; thus completing the parasitic cycle of life. Obviously, if we wait ’til then, it will be too late. No, if we do this now, we’ll be doing everyone a favour. Getting it over with, before it gets out of hand. We just need to endure a little while longer. Long enough for them to run out of air, but not so long that we suffocate ourselves. How long can you hold your breath?

Suffice it to say, Chick-fil-A is not the only offender here

In the meanwhile, we can point fingers at the next villain (our backs turned as our freedoms are pick-pocketed from us), or we could recognise that playing the blame game isn’t really going to get us anywhere. Today we identify Exhibit: Chick-fil-A; yesterday it was LIBOR. And tomorrow it will be a new offender who runs relay, until he passes the torch onward and so forth — our stolen hopes, dreams, and liberties flickering away in the distance. And…. Here it comes again! Oh….  And there it goes once more! Running in circles. It’s a never-ending cycle. It’s sheer madness, I tell you! And the saddest part of all: It doesn’t have to be this way — we just think it does, because we just stood by and let this pass for so long. And history (or is it tradition?) has taught us that that’s the way things are, that’s the way things have always been, and that’s the way they will forever be. Am I right? Am I even close to the mark?

But that sounds to me like the mentality of defeatist

Nay, a slave: One who has been oppressed since generations before they were ever born. And the truth is, we are slaves, and we all know it. We’re just too damned proud or afraid to admit that for what it might mean. For what it surely does mean: That acknowledging this truth means accepting our inherent obligation to get up off our bruised and battered backs and do something about it. And you know what they say: “The first step toward recovering from a problem is admitting that you have one.” Perhaps we’re masochists, or perhaps we have been abused so much that we think this is how our masters show their love. Well in that case, we’re going to need an awful lot of therapy. But we are going to get through this, one way or another. Though it may take a little more than twelve steps.

 

[the following links below further reflect my thoughts on the matter]

http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/30/opinion/randazza-first-amendment/index.html
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2104864,00.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizens_United_v._Federal_Election_Commission
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worker_cooperative
http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/jossstone/righttobewrong.html

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Just A Reminder

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Bipartisan politics is a polarizing trick to divide, control, and predict the masses. It’s an illusion of Democracy and it plays upon our need to fit in and identify with a group. But we are more complex than that. This nation faces complex tasks which require complex solutions.

My assessment is this: We’re trying to write out the solutions to this nation’s problems with just two keys of a grossly incomplete keyboard, and that should be a clear sign that we need help. (Red-Blue-Red, S.O.S., dit-dah-dit, that’s all I hear, and that’s all the world hears too.)

Underneath all of the campaign posters, muffled beneath the prevailing voices, there are alternatives. Seek out those alternatives. It’s time this nation took off those outdated 3D glasses and started seeing reality again for the vivid world that it is. For some, perhaps for the very first time.

Reparative Therapy

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