Welcome to August the 3rd. The second day of political banter and posturing at your local Chick-Fil-A. On Wednesday, people flocked to their local establishments to show support for the Chief Operating Officer’s statement of being in favor of traditional relationships…in other words, hetero-relationships. Today, same-sex folks are supposed to head over to the eateries, and do a “kiss-in”. Not really sure what either “protest” measure accomplishes. An easier to deal with the entire matter is to decide whether you want to eat there or not. Since I’m not willing to support an establishment with the stance that the COO displayed – I’ve chosen to remove the establishment from my list of places to eat. But to be completely fair, I’ve removed a lot of places where fried foods are the standard fare from list of places to eat. The COO’s stance only made my decision over Chick-Fil-A’s menu a little easier for me. Folks that want to support that stance – they will continue to eat there. More power to you for whatever decisions you make in regards to this – its your pocket change, you spend it how you want to.
I’ve read several comments that this boils down to a freedom of religion issue. That’s completely and totally false. This is a freedom of speech issue. And as such, I fall firmly on the side of Chick-Fil-A’s COO to express his opinion openly. I don’t agree with him whatsoever. But its his opinion, he’s got a right to it. Just as I have a right to openly disagree with it.
But this isn’t what bothers me. Differences of opinion crop up everywhere in life. Political positions. Where and what to eat. What color the sky is. What musical artist is best. What color clothing best suits our complexion and eye color. What kind of car is best to drive. Whether to buy “American”. Who has the best football team. Take your pick, there’s far more options to run with. No, difference of opinion don’t bother me one bit. Its the way we deal with other opinions that don’t line up with our own. Where people have become empirical in their perspective. Where its become the “my way or the highway” as the rule of personal perspective.
I’m guilty of doing this too. I’m not perfect by any means – nor will I ever portray myself as such. I have a pretty good handle on what my weaknesses are — but I fall into this empirical attitude from time to time as well. But I see it far more often now than I have in previous years. Obama is the worst President EVER. Romney is a complete idiot. You can better express that in programming terminology. [Current_President] is the worst President EVER. [Presidential_Candidate] is a complete idiot. Just plug in whoever into the variable slot, and you will most likely hit the mark with someone, somewhere. Its everywhere. Or at least that’s what it seems.
Maybe I just wasn’t as aware of this type of mentality in the previous years. Perhaps I was looking at far different things, and glossing over this kind of rhetoric before. Maybe. I couldn’t really say. I try not to live too far into the past – though I do long for certain things from way back when. But Life moves on and changes. Or at least I hope it does. What I can say, is that I see a lot more name-calling, lines being drawn in the sand, dividing everyone up by labels and rhetorical statements of unverified “fact” than I can recall previously.
A week or so back, a friend of mine on FaceBook had a back-and-forth conversation with me on the conceptual aspect of “respect” and the lack of it that seems to be available during this political cycle. And its true…I see it everywhere. Nowhere has it been more up-front than the political advertising campaign between Dewhurst and Crus during the recent Republican run-off for the Senate seat of Kay Bailey Hutchison. I’ve not seen a level of mud-flinging and negative campaigning like that in years, but that could possibly be because I’m not really into politics that much. Regardless, its indicative of a lack of respect for another person’s point of view. That empirical positioning as one’s own personal view as the “only way that anyone should see things”….
I’ve been asked before why I don’t delve into politics all that much. Do I not care about the entire process of government that will affect me? Don’t I want a voice for me in a position of political prominence? My answer is always the same. I don’t care about the way politics is set up as a division between two sets of opinion – especially when neither opinion comes close to matching my own. In a way, its like being divided up on the playground for a game of kick-ball. All the kids are lining up to be chosen – I’d rather go play on the merry-go-round or the swingsets.
So, on this second round of protests at the local Chick-Fil-A, I can only offer up my perspective as one of slight indifference. I’ve already put my part of the “protest” into place…but that’s being a little unfair, since I was already in the mode of removing Chick-Fil-A from my choices of locations to eat. Not because of their stance on same-sex relationships, but for a health reason. They only made my choice a little easier by doing so. Still, I see this as an indicator of something far more deeply rooted within our current social strata – my way or the highway mentality, that empirical perspective that I’ve come to dislike. Dislike it or not, I recognize the right of people to make such statements, one way or the other….I also recognize my right to discount such perspectives and seek out far more respectful opinions and perspectives going forward.