Archive for July 2012

Chic-Fil-A, Free Speech, and Economic Power

July 29, 2012

I’ve avoided weighing in on the recent Chic-Fil-A drama, as I didn’t think it was anything that would continue to permeate the news and social media.  I was wrong.  Even today, almost two weeks after Chic-Fil-A CEO Dan Cathy’s remarks in which he states “We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit” as a response to questions regarding monetary donations to groups that oppose gay marriage initiatives, people are still reacting to this statement.

I’ll be the first to state that I think Mr. Cathy’s statements are incorrect and demonstrate a narrow understanding of the term family.   LGBT rights issues, in my opinion, are civil, even human, rights that should not be the subject of laws limiting the rights of LGBT people.  With that said, Mr. Cathy is entitled to his opinion about gay marriage, no matter how misguided people or groups might find it.  I am a proud member and monetary contributor to the Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBT advocacy group in the country.  I WANT HRC to speak out in support of LGBT rights.  That’s what I give them my money to do.  I want them to increase community outreach efforts, support anti-bullying programs, educational programs, and provide a vital resource for LGBT people on a variety of health and personal issues.  There is no difference between my contributing money to HRC and Mr. Cathy’s contributing money to anti-LGBT groups, aside from the size of our contributions.

My question is: was Mr. Cathy’s statement really a shock as some people seem to be claiming with their criticisms?  Chic-Fil-A has always prided itself on being a Christian-focused, family-owned business.  The fact that the restaurants are closed on Sundays clearly should speak volumes about what the ownership feels regarding the importance of traditionalist Christian religion, and thus, shouldn’t be a far stretch to infer what their views about gay marriage would be.

Some politicians and other organizations have put out statements condemning Mr. Cathy’s position and articulating their own.  Again, that’s their right, and I am glad they are doing this and showing their support for LGBT rights.  Where my problem comes in is in how some people are packaging this issue.  Reports that “Chic-Fil-A discriminates against LGBT people” or similar headlines is not true.  The OWNER of Chic-Fil-A is supporting groups that are trying to enact anti-LGBT initiatives.  The restaurant itself is not discriminating.  From the consumer end of things (as I have no idea about their employment practices), I would ask what the possible benefit of denying service to an LGBT customer would be.  For one, this isn’t an aspect of our identities that is immediately noticed upon meeting people.  In addition, any smart businessman isn’t going to deny service, as denying service equals a loss in profits, completely counterintuitive to a business model.

On a similar vein, concerns were raised by Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, who sent a letter to Mr. Cathy urging him to back out of his plans to open a Chic-Fil-A in Boston.  In an economic recession, and when any job is in high demand, turning away a business is not a smart play, in my opinion, especially when the BUSINESS has done nothing wrong.  Using political power to attempt to dissuade/discourage a business simply because you don’t agree with their policies is not acting in the greater interest of the economy, and sets up a dangerous precedent regarding appropriate use of power.

While you might disagree (as I do vehemently) with his opinions, the best way to make your voice heard is to speak out to family, friends, and others, contribute to groups that support causes you believe in, and don’t contribute to groups that support causes you don’t support.  As consumers in a market economy, we have power.  If you don’t want your money going to causes you don’t support, buy from somewhere else.   There’s plenty of fast food establishments in America offering the same types of food at similar prices as Chic-Fil-A.

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24 Things I’ve Learned in my 20s

July 3, 2012

I’m not (quite) out of my 20s yet, but when I saw this list via Ryan O’Connell at Thought Catalog I felt I had to repost.  The list originally had 25 items, and I’ve omitted one as it didn’t apply to me at all, and wasn’t something I believe.  However, the other 24 items on this list are incredibly true.  Some are funny, some are serious, and I think all provide a set of reminders about life and the need to not only look back and reflect, but look forward and not be too caught up in the moment.

Numbers 3, 11, 14, 15, 20, and 23 are expecially poignant for me!

What about you?  What on this list strikes you (either as right or wrong).

  1. You can’t date a jerk and expect to turn them into a good person. Jerks are fully committed to being unpleasant. Those brief moments of tenderness they give you are designed to trip you up and give you false hope. It’s best to stay away altogether.
  2. The rumors are true: your metabolism does slow down as you get older! That means if you’re still eating whatever you want, there’s a good chance you’ll start to gain an awkward amount of weight. It won’t be too drastic but your clothes will start to hang differently on your body and you’ll feel an overall feeling of unattractiveness. Start to be conscious of what you eat and strive to live a healthier lifestyle if you want to get your teen body back. (Let’s be real though, that might not ever come back.)
  3. You’re going to lose touch with a lot of your friends. With some people, it will be expected but with others it will feel like a punch to the stomach. No friendship is truly safe in your twenties. You’re undergoing so many personal and professional changes that there’s bound to be some casualties along the way. Don’t worry though. You’ll end up with the ones that matter. If someone’s no longer in your life, it’s for a reason.
  4. You’ll be jealous of everyone who’s more successful than you. That’s okay. Just transfer that jealousy into something productive, like working really hard so you can one day eclipse them and make them feel jealous of YOU.
  5. You’ll question every decision you make and never feel completely certain that you made the right choice. It’s pointless to wonder though. You’re here now so you might as well make it be the right decision.
  6. You’re going to give your heart to a few people who don’t deserve it. Then, one day you’ll come to your senses and ask them to give it back.
  7. You’ll see your parents get older. You’ll come home during Christmas break and see new lines developing on their faces. One day it’ll just hit you that your parents are old and going to die. There’s nothing you can do about it, besides treat them with kindness and visit as much as your budget permits.
  8. You’ll have a boss who makes you feel like you’re nothing. It doesn’t have to be in a Devil Wears Prada way. The cruelty can be much more subtle. Don’t let them get to you though. They have no idea who the hell you really are and you’re probably going to have their job someday so…
  9. You’re going to puke in public. It’s fine. No one cares. Just puke.
  10. You’ll know how to make twenty dollars last an entire week because you spent almost all of your paycheck on groceries at Whole Foods and drunk cab rides. This lesson in frugality will serve you well.
  11. You’re going to betray your convictions. You’re going to feel shame. You’re going to continue to put yourself in situations that aren’t good for you. And then, slowly but surely, it will become less frequent. It might not ever go away completely but it won’t be as bad. In the meantime, stop shame spiraling about it. It gets you nowhere.
  12. Loving yourself is hard. Hating yourself is harder.
  13. You’re going to hook up with someone who you would never touch in the daylight sober. Just don’t freak out too much about it. Consider it to be your good deed for the day.
  14. You’re going to have people in your life who are toxic. They may say that they love you, they may say that they have your back, but they don’t. Get rid of them.
  15. You’ll have moments with someone that are so intense, it’ll feel like you’ve been electrocuted back to life. You’ll hold on to these moments for a long time. They’ll give you hope when you’re going through the motions.
  16. You’ll always care about your first love. That doesn’t make you crazy, it just makes you human. When relationships end, it’s not so cut and dry. You carry everyone you’ve ever loved into every relationship thereafter.
  17. You’ll enter your twenties as a fashion disaster and (hopefully) leave them looking fantastic. If you don’t know how to put yourself together by then, I really don’t know what to tell you.
  18. You’ll realize that the Internet can be a cruel son of a bitch but, you know, http://www.whatever.com.
  19. So much of what you think matters doesn’t actually matter at all. It’s kind of rude. Like, thanks for making me believe in things that are ultimately so inconsequential, you jerk.
  20.  You’ll treat someone terribly. Whether it to be a lover or your friend, there’ll be someone whose feelings you take for granted. We focus too much on whether or not someone is hurting us. The reality is that we might actually be the one who’s hurting someone.
  21. Doing “grown-up things” doesn’t make you a grown up. Shopping for housewares, buying a plant, embracing domesticity — these things don’t create maturity. If you’re still a baby who hasn’t figured things out, you’ll remain a baby, no matter how many times you pay your rent on time.
  22. Don’t force yourself into loving anyone. If it’s not working in the beginning, it’s probably not going to work ever.
  23. You are so lucky to have everything that you have. Stop crying about an unreturned text message and get some perspective.
  24. Don’t go too long without having sex. Ever.