Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Executive Director of the Log Cabin Republicans, R. Clarke Cooper provided an interesting view to the Chick-Fil-A drama.
"Turning a chicken sandwich into Public Gay Enemy Number One makes LGBT people look superficial, vindictive and juvenile -- everything that we as a community have worked hard to overcome. Remember, employers don't want drama queens on the payroll, military service is serious business, and marriage is not a right society grants to spoiled children. While in a perfect world our equality should not depend on our good behavior, in a world where our rights too often hinge on political reality, the way our movement conducts itself matters.
"The 'movable middle' moves both ways, and they don't like seeing people attacked relentlessly for their religion. Whatever the nuances, these voters see a man standing up for his beliefs against a politically powerful mob dead-set on driving him out of business. It's un-American, and when fellow conservatives are finally standing up and speaking out for marriage equality as consistent with the sober values of responsibility and commitment, splashing a popular American company with metaphorical chicken blood in protest is nothing less than friendly fire."
Hmmm. Interesting, but he's not alone. My friend Sean also had a strong response:
Love to hear your views on this.I see little evidence that the damage done to the Chick-fil-A brand is as severe or permanent as some would like. Every time a new gay marriage referendum comes up and is voted down, it ends up demonstrating how rampant this kind of gay-positive groupthink is. Most Americans probably don't have very strong opinions about the whole controversy.There is also a tendency in gay politcs/media/activism to overrate the degree to which LGBT civil rights battles are fought within the realm of pop culture, and this is that "superficial, vindictive and juvenile" faction that Cooper is referring to. Sure, visibility has always been an important factor in the movement, but it's not the only one. The theory has always been that if you use consumer culture and pop cultural allies to increase the visibility of gay people, you will change the broader public's view of them and that will cause policy changes. (Has anyone asked Lady Gaga what she thinks about this yet?) But if you look at the history of most civil rights movements, you'll see that this is really a two-way street. In fact, it's often the case that public policy changes come first, which lead to social changes later. Fighting for rights in court rooms and legislative chambers may not be as glamorous or exciting as talking about a fast food chain everybody's heard of, but it's much more effective at improving people's lives in the long run.