A few days ago, on the way to the movies, I tried to stop by Chick Fil-A to grab some chicken nuggets. As I got closer, it became a better choice not to even bother going to the restaurant because there was a massive line of cars forming from the drive-thru. I headed out and when I took a look back at the streets, the lane to turn left to go to Chick Fil-A was packed. Like, lines and lines of car jam-packed. I had no idea why everyone was up in a frenzy trying to go Chick Fil-A; I’ve never seen the restaurant attract so many customers. That night, I checked to see what was going on Chick Fil-A and, behold, it turns out that day was Chick Fil-A Appreciation Day.
But as I read about that particular day more, it turns out this whole “appreciation” and “support” was more than just for chicken sandwiches. That Wednesday was more focused on Chick Fil-A’s voice on traditional family structure - difference against same-sex marriage. The restaurants’ religious belief of marriage have been making headlines lately - although I haven’t really kept up with it - and it has been making controversy, putting many at odds. The issue raised a lot of conflict to the point the mayor of Chicago refused the construction of a Chick Fil-A franchise until the corporate head established non-discriminatory policies. So a simple day dedicated to support a restaurant franchise for that Wednesday seemed above and beyond just food and milkshakes: it was somewhat of supporting a side of the debate over current American marriage issues.
I am sure there were people that really didn’t care about any political heat going on with Chick Fil-A and simply wanted some sandwiches. Regardless of knowledge though, there was a sense that customers were casting a vote in a hypothetical ballot of for-against same-sex marriage. Amidst Chick Fil-A being a hot topic about marriage issues lately , it also come to represent the idea of conservative, traditional family structure thanks to media following up on their statements. More and more someone gets educated on the issue, this restaurant starts to change into a political body, and depending on your personal morals, the franchise can alter into your ambassador or arch-enemy.
This is a dilemma I have to personally face now. While I had already known Chick Fil-A being a Christian-run franchise, I never put the perspective that their ideas and support will conflict with my personal morals. And more I start to enter politics into this, the more I start to see their food become an item to represent their belief and support for their ideas on not only marriage but other touchy issues as well. As ridiculous as I might sound, a chicken nugget from Chick Fil-A is starting to become an item of hate and discrimination. Delicious as the food may be, I don’t want to support discrimination and inequality and also become a hypocrite. If purchasing any food from them is going to make me feel that way, it’s not worth my $3-$5.
Definitely there are parts where a line must be drawn and politics should be separated from enjoying a meal. But for now, until this thing rests, I don’t know if I can look at food the same anymore. It’s amazing how politics and controversy can alter what a chicken sandwich is to the mind. When it was a delicious alternative, now it’s a sort of like a badge or a pin showing your political support and ideas. Recently that Chick Fil-A has sponsored Gay Pride festivals, breaking some sort of tension against their supposed discriminatory image. It’s still unsure where all this is headed for now. But I just want to be able to eat a chicken nugget again without having to think it’s an item of conspiracy and inequality. I just want my enjoyment back.