This isn’t about Chik-Fil-A, relax. I can’t look at a vegan nugget at this point without wanting it to just shut up already. None of this is really about Chik-Fil-A, though, is it? Sure, some Chik-N-Nuggets fund anti-same-sex-marriage causes and Kermit funds pro-same-sex-marriage ones, and I’m sure some other company is against marriage for everyone ever, but the truly bizarre aspect of the whole thing is that we rely on corporations to be our moral conscious when it comes to the issues we care about. You guys. Seriously. VOTING is RIGHT THERE. If we turned out to vote in decent numbers (that includes mid-term elections, hi) then government might actually reflect the people who put it there.
Instead, with our abysmal voter turnout records (scraping what, 50% in the average election?), our lackluster international news coverage and our obsession with Robsten’s twiddlings, we need corporate-funded organizations to convince us of ideas and opinions that we could probably develop on our own if CNN would talk about actual news and shut up about what bacteria lives in yogurt (the kind that makes yogurt, duh). Because that’s basically what this is about – convincing chunks of people what to think given the right PR department.
Can we all just stop for a sec and consider how up in arms everyone is being over sh*t that is not. their. effing. business? Issues that ultimately affect private individuals – they don’t involve public spaces, their active pursuit affects only those concerned, while their denial creates second class citizens of people who just want the right to make their personal choices in privacy, without a truckload of strangers hurling buckets of haterade at them. Westboro Baptist, why can’t you be more like the Girl Scouts? They roll with Jesus too, sell cookies and don’t care if you grow up to like bajingos, dangle-snakes, both or neither. Chik-Fil-A, what do Chik-N-Nuggets have to do with gay people? Amazon, can’t you just stick to putting indie bookstores out of business? Jim Henson Co., you invited me down to Fraggle Rock and never gave me directions. Not cool.
The truth is, we invest more money, energy, and attention in companies and their products than we do government, so of course they’re the ones spearheading social change. This is how it happens now — with a Chik-N-Strip and Kermit, because someone signed a contract without ever listening to ‘Rainbow Connection’. We don’t know how to think critically (scored 500/1000 on a global reading scale!), so in order to make democracy work for or against a cause, organizations have to be created and funded so they can come up with the best PR campaign to convince us that going with their opinion is a better idea than having our own. Of course same-sex marriage is a hot-button issue, it feeds off of emotional reactions – feelings beat thoughts any day, it’s how we’re wired.
“But what does Chik-Fil-A have to do with same-sex marriage?” asks the person who wants to help me segway the next paragraph. The same tax incentives that encourage corporations to make charitable donations also allow them to fund ideological causes. Which is a good thing, when it’s all about saving pandas and gluing more ozone into the sky or whatever (that’s how UV rays will photosynthesize the moon, right? I’m not made of science, guys). It just seems bizarre that second-class-citizening people’s tax returns is in the same category as the March of Dimes or Make a Wish or whatever the kids are giving to these days.
Of course, it’s not just down to the personal feelings of whoever signs the checks at the top. Corporations base these “charitable” investments on how it will affect their image in the eyes of their target demographics. Starbucks or Apple didn’t just decide that they wanted to support same-sex marriage, they based their decision off detailed market research. Two CEO’s to butting heads over personal politics like Chik-Fil-A and the Jim Henson Co. is pretty unique, actually.
All of this money, all of these resources, all of this time and energy and headache (just me?) could be spared if we focused a bit more on what’s best for all of us, as a whole — as people sharing a country together. We don’t have to agree on everything (because it will never happen anyway, and that’s actually a good thing), but we can choose to focus on issues that have a positive effect, not ones that hold people back. It’s so easy to think based on feelings, but they’re different for everyone – rights shouldn’t be. Do we really want a handful of people’s ideas to have more value, just because they have the money to publicize it with? Is a Chik-N-Sandwich what we want to boil a civil rights debate down to? Because we don’t have to. We can take the conversations back from the companies trying to represent them and see that we’re all just people trying to be people.
Featured Image: NatalieDee.com