Tuesday, July 31, 2012

More on Chick Fil-A

Americans on both sides of the political spectrum delight in painting the opposition in the broadest strokes possible, to the detriment of everyone except those who stand to benefit by the resulting polarization. It was bad enough when people refused to see shades of gray in public figures; everyone was either good or bad. Now, thanks in large part to the perpetual campaign and twenty-four hour news, “good” and “bad” aren’t enough. Everyone is either Good or Evil.

The current Chick Fil-A controversy is a good example. I have weighed in rather firmly on one side, yet my reasons are not at all what those who ostensibly agree with me tend to argue. I don’t eat at Chick Fil-A anymore. It’s not because Dan Cathy is Evil. I don’t know Dan Cathy. Never heard of him until a few weeks ago. (It’s his father, Truett, whose picture appears in all the restaurants.) For all I know he’s a good man and fine father who happens to hold a social/political opinion far removed from at least one of mine. That doesn’t make him bad, no matter how far apart we are on this. Some of his recent comments make him sound a little intolerant and close-minded, but that’s his right, and has nothing to do with my personal boycott.

The issue here is solely how Chick Fil-A spends money I give them. The money in question moves from the business to the Chick Fil-A Foundation to organizations that take positions I find abhorrent. I won’t let them use my money for that, as is my right. They’re not bad, or evil. In my eyes, they’re just wrong about this one thing. It’s a big enough thing in my eyes to justify action on my part. Period.

If Dan Cathy wants to spend his personal money on these groups, that’s his business, and I’d have lunch at Chick Fil-A tomorrow. True, his income likely comes almost exclusively from Chick Fil-A, but once it enters his personal bank accounts, it’s his; what he does with it is none of my business. (Unless he wants to run for public office, which may place him in a position to make his opinions into law.)

That may seem like splitting hairs to some. So be it. To me it makes a difference. I don’t shop at Wal-Mart. That has nothing to do with how the Walton family spends its obscene fortune, and everything to do with their business practices. (How they treat their employees and how much of their merchandize is from China, for example.)

A representative democracy only works if people of good will can discuss their differences. It’s not working now, largely because that isn’t happening. We’d better start soon, or what’s left won’t be worth fighting over.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Does This Hurt?

Doctors have this thing they do now when you say something hurts. “On a scale of one to ten, with ten being the worst pain you can imagine, how bad is it?” This is stupid on a couple of levels.

First, I write crime fiction; I can imagine a lot. “You mean like having a bayonet thrust through your navel then thrust upward to your sternum? Is that ten?” Well,

a. I don’t know what that feels like, and

2. If it hurts that bad, I’m probably too engaged to tell you about it.

How about a system that actually means something, that people can relate to? I am proposing the King Pain Scale, which may someday achieve the same level of acceptance as the Apgar test or the stages of grief.

1. I’m fine. Leave me alone.

2. I’m aware of it.

3. It’s sore.

4. It hurts.

5. It’s painful.

6. I’m in a lot of pain.

7. Hurts like a bastard.

8. Incapacitated.

9. Unconscious.

The Sole Heir is about a year away from spending more money than most people’s houses cost to go to medical school, and she has this kind of a resource right here, for free. Go figure.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

An Open Letter to Chick Fil-A

Dan Cathy

CEO, Chick Fil-A

Dear Mr. Cathy,

I have been a fan of Chick Fil-A restaurants since serving at Fort McPherson during my time in the Army in the early 1980s; I have eaten at the original restaurant in Hapeville GA. I currently live in Laurel MD, and my wife and regularly eat at the local Chick-Fil-A. (By regularly, I mean at least once a week, sometimes more.) I believe it is the finest fast food restaurant I have seen, not only because of the quality of the food, but the exceptional cleanliness of the restaurant, and the courteous and friendly demeanor shown by everyone on the staff. I have mentioned this to managers on more than one occasion. I am sorry to say I will not eat there anymore, due to Chick Fil-A’s support of groups that actively advocate against same-sex marriage.

Make no mistake, I understand these groups—such as Focus On the Family—may perform many worthy functions for families. Unfortunately, their support for only the type of family they consider to be appropriate, and their efforts to limit the rights of any who would subscribe to a different view, are hateful and without compassion. I have several gay friends; my daughter’s godmother is gay. These are good people who have lived lives more difficult than they should have been because of intolerant views about a matter that is no one’s business but their own. I know of no person or organization providing evidence of any kind to show same-sex marriage affects anyone else’s marriage or family choices.

I understand there are religious issues in play here. I do not mean to be anti-religion. If a religion’s conscience does not allow it to accept same-sex marriages, that is their right. It is not their place to try to enforce such strictures on others. Too often Old Testament verses are quoted to damn those who are different, when any good Christian should look more to the New Testament and its lessons of tolerance, as the New Testament is where Christians are supposed to have taken their teachings.

This is a free country, and everyone is free to worship as they see fit. I think any self-proclaimed “Christian” organization should be more inclusive, but do not feel they should be forced to do so. All I am saying here is you can’t use any of my money to fund activities I find personally abhorrent, even if done indirectly.


Dana King

Laurel MD