Politics is becoming a part of everyday life in the United States, even for those people who claim they don’t like politics or won’t allow politics to be discussed at their dinner table. Unfortunately for those persons, politics are infiltrating most every part of America’s fabric – most recently the huge portion of the fabric that includes American businesses.
Most recently, a business that has entrenched itself in politics is the Chick-fil-A restaurant chain due to the personal opinion given by its president, Dan Cathy. Since last week when Cathy said he supports traditional marriage and no other form of marriage, the loud protests and soft acceptances of his comments have gone viral – and more. After Twitter, Facebook, and other forms of social media had their initial say, the politicizing of the poultry restaurant business began – literally.
After Cathy was trounced for giving his opinion on the controversial subject, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee was quick to add his approval of the fast food chain’s assertion that the Biblical form of marriage was just. Huckabee has even called upon supporters of what Cathy opined to participate in an “Appreciation Day” on August 1st. How well that call for patronizing Chick-fil-A goes is yet to be seen.
On the other end of the political spectrum, there are politicians like Chicago Alderman Joe Moreno who are extremely opposed to the message delivered via Cathy’s outspokenness. The Chicago politician is now blocking the opening of a Chick-fil-A restaurant in his Northwest Side community. In Chicago, aldermen have what is referred to as “alderman’s privilege” which gives Moreno the power to block the business from proceeding.
The area of Chicago of which Moreno is alderman – the 1st Ward which includes the Logan Square neighborhood – is becoming more and more contemporary with its recent developments and would have welcomed a Chick-fil-A with open arms and pocketbooks before now. At this point, however, Cathy and his Chick-fil-A can forget it.
While some have asked Alderman Moreno about freedom of speech, the alderman simply responds that zoning is not a right – and that is where Moreno’s “alderman’s privilege” and authority have come into play.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has appropriately joined Moreno’s move to block the restaurant in Chicago by saying that having that restaurant – particularly in Moreno’s ward where many gays, lesbians, and trans-genders are in residence – wouldn’t be a successful business for the city because people simply aren’t going to go there now. Emanuel added that he wouldn’t want the business in Chicago because Chicago is open to all its neighbors – and such prejudice against some of the city’s citizens is not wanted in Chicago.
Though I rarely agree with Emanuel, I must admit that this time he is right on the mark.
Surprisingly, Chick-fil-A was founded in another populous American city, Atlanta. Where does an otherwise successful business person from a big American city get the idea that he can blast the GLAAD community – or any segment of society – and still have a profitable business at the end of the day?
Chick-fil-A now claims via Facebook that the restaurant treats every patron with “honor, dignity and respect – regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender”. This contradictory statement from the restaurant chain is obviously not going to carry much weight with those it has offended and those who totally disapprove of a business giving their opinion on same-sex marriage at all.
First of all, what was Dan Cathy thinking when he thought that anyone gives a damn about what he thinks about same-sex marriage? Second of all, did he forget he heads a company that could lose many customers – possibly his entire business – when he made his “blurt-ation”? Did he actually believe that spewing his controversial belief on an otherwise social, political, and religious issue wasn’t going to have a negative effect on his business? Did he feel he had some moral or religious need to give his opinion?
Whatever Cathy’s reasoning, he has a lot to learn about the separation of his business and the unnecessary preaching of his morality. Unfortunately for his business and the many people who depend on him for a financial livelihood, he is most likely learning his lesson too late.
About Scott Paulson
Scott Paulson writes political commentary for Examiner.com and teaches English at a community college in the Chicago area. The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CBS Local.