So, I’ve been trying to figure out how to write this.
What I am not going to discuss:
- why a person should support gay marriage rights. It is something I believe in. FIERCELY. But there are authors out there better than I who have written beautiful pieces that speak what I consider to be the absolute truth on the matter. And anything I say would simply be a rehash of what they have already written.
- Why people who are against gay marriage sadden me.
- how tasty waffle fries can be.
What I am going to talk about:
- Amendment 1: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
There is an argument that seems to be the crux of the pro-Chick-Fil-A movement that says the owner was just exercising his free speech and that everyone against him and his business is just a bunch of liberal haters/bullies that don’t understand the first amendment.
Yes, Dan Cathy was exercising his free speech. And yes, his business is free to make charitable donations to whomever he deems worthy. yes and yes–these things are true. And I’m not sure I’ve heard ANYONE on the boycott side say that he cannot do that. I’ve heard them say he “shouldn’t”–but THAT is a different argument.
However, I am perplexed at the amount of butthurt feelings that are emerging in response to the boycott. Claims that the left is “picking on” CHick-Fil-A and trodding all over the first amendment.
Because, and this may make a few people uncomfortable, so bear with me, this boycott? This action to urge others NOT to eat at this restaurant due to those charitable donations? ALSO FREE SPEECH.
‘Cause this is how it works y’all. One side can say what they want (barring libel, slander or threats of violence) and the THE OTHER SIDE can do THE SAME THING.
Example (and some of my former students will have to forgive me trotting out this old dog & pony show) South Central Los Angeles. Predominately African American and Latino populations. if the Klan–yes, THAT Klan–wanted to stage a rally right in the middle of Leimert Park (the heart of South Los Angeles), provided they got the correct permits, THEY COULD. The first amendment protects that right. Than can roll up in their sheets and confederate flags and abject nonsense and holler into their bullhorns all damn day. And they are protected. The law would HAVE to protect them from violence, and anyone who committed violence against them would be guilty of a crime. I’m not talking “shoulds” here, I’m talking FACT. However, in response, the neighborhood could get together with louder bullhorns, and American flags, and righteous indignation and soundsystems and big beefy tattoos and have a rally RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET from the first rally. (now granted there are legal/permit issues there, but you–hopefully–get my meaning)
Freedom of speech (and religion and press and assembly–ASSEMBLY!!) doesn’t mean unicorns vomiting American flags while virgins dance in the morning dew. Freedom isn’t always pretty, folks. It is not always beautiful young girls standing on Olympic podiums, or glorious soldiers returning victorious. More often than not, freedom, and everything it entails, can be extremely uncomfortable. I am just as uncomfortable with religions that raise their girls to believe they are chattel to their male family members, as they are of me and my candles and spells and potions. It makes me SICK when certain “church” groups (I use quotes here because I think calling them a church is offensive to anyone who belongs to an actual church) picket funerals with their hateful/hurtful speech. I physically CRINGE when I hear the R word used. But all of those things–as odious as one group or another may find them, are well within our rights and freedoms under the constitution. Freedom of speech doesn’t always mean freedom FROM speech. And when you take a stand on an issue–ANY issue–you are not free from the repercussions of that stance.
Yes, I wish people would change their minds, just like others probably wish I would change mine. But I can’t force them to think as I do, nor they, me. And that right there? That’s freedom folks, in its purest form.
So enjoy that chicken sammich if you want. Imma pass. Because I know where I want my dollars to go, and I have no wish to fund hate against those I love. You have the right to eat where and what you want. And I have the right to have my own unfavorable opinion on the matter…
And I can sit here and hope that one day, the very issue this whole thing is boiling around won’t be an issue anymore and the people I love will have the same rights that I enjoy.
And if you want to think I am hateful for thinking that? Well? FEEL FREE.