Due do my absolutely deplorable lack of a social life, I usually have dinner with my parents on the weekends. Sunday we got to talking about the recent kerfuffle involving Chick-Fil-A. Surprisingly, my mother (leans left sometimes, but not too far) expressed irritation with the outcry from the GLBTQetc community, calling their outrage “ridiculous” and “outrageous itself.” Dad and I then mentioned that today would be Chick-Fil-A appreciation day.
My Mom, btw, loves Chick-Fil-A. With a passion. Just as I know the locations of all the Starbucks in the area, Mom knows Chick-Fil-A. This was an easy sell.
So I was over again this evening to partake in a family meal, Mom picking up dinner on the way home from work. It was quite the event, even here in the bluest parts of Marylandistan.
Here are points from Mom’s adventure:
1) The place fully staffed with every employee: 2 girls doing nothing but milkshakes (having to make them so fast that they didn’t get a chance to properly freeze before being served up), 2 people on each register– one fetching, one typing, two on the waffle fry station, maintaining a pile of fries they were replenishing almost as quickly as they were flying over the counter, the rest of the kitchen area packed as people made sandwiches, etc. . .
2) The drive-through line stretched around the place and down the block, walk-in line filled the inside, stretched out the door, halfway around the building. Took Mom half an hour to get through the line– and it was longer when she left than it had been when she started, starting to go down the block. Mom said, too, that the people at the counter were flying– good service, but very, very fast.
3) Some folks were confused over volume– they were regulars, noting “It’s usually not this busy. . .”. Mom (who considers Politico a balanced source) informs them it’s a “Reaction against the growing anti-Christian sentiment and policies of the country, specifically this time by the Gay and Lesbian crowd. We gotta fight this growing anti-Christian bias while we still can!” Informed a black lady in line that parts of the CNN article (that sparked the “controversy”) were fabricated, “They’re liberal media, you know.” Black lady nods “yeah, I guess they are. . ” Mom presses the point “Which is why you have to take everything they say with salt . . .”
Old Jewish guy behind Mom in the line: “Hey, do you have to be Christian to take part in this? . . . I think I’ll come later this week, too, to give them my ‘blessing’. . . ”
4) A homeschooling family that rarely goes out to eat, had no idea about the “counter-boycott”, but suddenly just wanted to get out of the house, so decided to come to Chick-fil-A for dinner. They were pleasantly surprised to learn the reason for the unexpected crowds. “Well,” said the mother “God does work in mysterious ways, doesn’t He?”
5) Folks from elsewhere in the area had come to this Chick-Fil-A (N. Silver Spring) because the others in the area (the 2 in Columbia) were even more full— people couldn’t find anywhere to park, and the drive-in lines were filling up the local highways. . .
6) Good mood all around– workers were exceedingly polite and helpful, those in line were cheerful and patient.
7) Keep in mind that this was in the middle of the I-95 corridor in MD between DC and Baltimore, one of the bluest of blue areas in the nation. If there was any place in America where this might not have really carried off, it would be here. It would be those other nearby Chick-Fil-A’s, surrounded by the posh communities of Columbia, the upper middle class Silver Spring, etc. . .
Hell, even the local NBC affiliate had a surprisingly balanced report.
This last point is one I want to make sure you understand. This area I’ve half-jokingly referred to as Marylandistan, due to it’s overwhelming socialist proclivities, solid blue politics due to bald-faced gerrymandering. A place where a NRA sticker on your car will get your doors keyed, and Sarah Palin bumper-sticker will get your tires slashed. Where you learn at a very young age to never say anything uncomplimentary about anyone not white, not Christian, because to do so is racist, bigoted, and worthy not only of public ridicule, but at the very least disciplinary action. Where employers are afraid to fire non-white people because to do so is to invite a lawsuit. Do you get the picture? That’s how very left this area is. When I sometimes refer to the brainwashing of my youth, I’m not kidding. I’m not exaggerating. I’ve come a long way, but I’ve still got programming to overcome. And I’m just one person– everyone who grew up here had the same thing happen.
That is the social context for this report. We aren’t “homophobic” around here. We don’t “hate gays.” Like most of America, we all have people we know, love, and respect who are homosexual. And such things aren’t really a big deal around here. So you’re gay. . . all that means is you can help me sort my wardrobe and get catty about the First Lady-person with me. That’s the general sentiment around here. Gay is almost, dare I say it, passe. So very turn-of-the-century.
No, what I see in this outpouring of support for the restaurant is not “anti-gay”, but . . . an expression of “You have gotten on my last damn nerve!” It’s irritation. It’s people who have finally reached the end of their long patience, who have had enough of the decades of bullying, of forcing people to think only approved thoughts. The forced one-way “tolerance”, and while being ridiculed for holding on to their religious beliefs. People tired of others deliberately confusing “disagreement” with “hate.” For many, it’s a Free-Speech thing, above anything else.
For me. . . for me it’s the irritation at the irrationality of it all. An irritation strong enough to finally upset some of my long-held ambivalence on the matter in general. (Yes, 4gfcinthatorder, your prayers have been having a noticeable effect for at least the past week. I’ll be writing more on that in the coming days . . .). Yeah, I like Chick-Fil-A in general (OMG, waffle-fries! nom-nom!), but when all this started happening, in the first 10 days of Facebook drama, I had one friend– one — who posted a rational statement regarding boycotting (all the comments, including that one, were in favor of the boycott). All the rest were histrionic, dramatic, full of vitriol and rage. My disgust with my own friends was, literally, mind-changing. If you cannot reason with, er, reason. . . it’s because you have none to argue with.
So yes, I love and respect all my gay friends, online and offline. But you can have my waffle fries when you pull the from my cold, dead hands. >.<!
Update: Facebook status from a friend in Woodbridge, VA:
Just drove by Chick-fil-A in Woodbridge… The Drive thru line wraps 2x around the building, and up & down the little street by the store. From what I have heard from people who went inside, it’s a 10 minute wait for food.
I doth think the protests have EPIC FAIL