21 August 2012

Hate (and boy, could this blog have the potential to get me some!) Part 2

Sorry, I thought it would be better to take this in two parts so that people don't get overwhelmed.

Now, when it comes to Chick-Fil-A, I have never eaten there.  I hear they have good chicken, and I hear that their chicken is rubbish.  I have no personal opinion on their chicken.  I think we can all agree that the argument of a "biblical" definition of marriage is complete crap because there is almost one of everything when it comes to different marriages in the bible.  The argument we are coming across is the traditionally accepted western world's definition of marriage which is that of one man and one woman.  Yes?  Good, let's carry on then.

To be clear, I understand where people are coming from with their rage against the CEO of Chick-Fil-A.  I know about having my feelings hurt.  I also know about hurting people's feelings.  I would take a guess that unless you are Jesus (and if you are, I'd love to meet you!!!), you've probably hurt someone's feelings at one point in your life.

There was a statement made where Mr Cathy said he didn't support gay marriage.  (Note, he did not say he hated people who were gay, lesbian, transgender, or bisexual, nor did he say he wouldn't serve or hire or in any other way discriminate against them in his business dealings.)  Here's the thing.  He has his beliefs and he is just as entitled to them as anyone else is to theirs.  I don't think it should matter if you agree with them.  He wasn't asking you to.  To me, what it comes down to, is that an imperfect human being (Wait, we all understand what it's like to be one of those, right?) said something that was insensitive and hurt people's feelings.

Now, I do think that it wasn't the best idea he ever had saying that the way he did.  When you are a public figure, you should be more conscientious about how/what/where you say things.  I think this is true for both the conservative people and the liberal people.  Do I think what he said was smart, absolutely not!  I think it was idiotic for him to say what he did, how he did.  However, I support his right to say it.  That is what the biggest issue to me is.  He said something, and his first amendment rights were attacked!  I feel terrible that people had their feelings hurt, but  I think that the CEO should have every right to say that if that's how he feels.

Now on the same token there are LOADS of stupid things said all the time.  Case and point, when the Dixie Chicks decided to bash President Bush.  Was it smart?  Well, I suppose if you think pissing off your main demographic is smart, than yes, yes it is.  I don't think it was very smart though.  Do I support their right to say it though?  As dumb as it might be, I totally do!  I still think that they should be able to have those opinions and they should be able to say them if that's what they want to do.

What happened after the fact was, in my opinion silly and childish though!  First, there was the boycott of Chick-Fil-A.  Now, if there are ethical/legal reasons to not support the company, ok.  Be educated and informed and you should be making those decisions.  I just don't think it should be made over a person's personal feelings or beliefs.  I just don't.  Even if I don't share those opinions, it's the opinion of that person and he/she is entitled to them.  If you choose to not go because of someone's opinion, you look like you are throwing a tantrum and that is what children do.  The same goes for those who then put forward the support Chick-Fil-A day.  I kind of get that, because after all of the bad press, they needed something to boost them back up, but still.  Most of the time, places recover alright after a mistake like that and it probably wasn't necessary.   I really don't think most people were going to Chic-Fil-A because they hate gay people though.  I think that most of the people who were going went for one of 2 reasons.  1- there was so much bashing happening to the chain that they wanted to support it because they like the chicken or 2- they were supporting Cathy's right to have his opinions and that it shouldn't be the reason you don't support the company.

I love my friends who are working for what they want.  I love my gay friends and my straight friends, but I don't love that when someone says they support gay marriage, it's being a forward thinker, and when someone says they don't it's being a terrible human being who should be hurt and humiliated and they should never be allowed into society again.  You have to recognize that hate is hate and it is still hate if it is coming from the "forward thinkers"

It makes me feel like if I have an opinion, should I be afraid to say it?  Will I get my head ripped off if it's not what people want to hear?  I think that anytime people have a problem with something it's become so acceptable to attack the person(s) who said or did it, and I feel like it's fostering some serious resentment.  To me, it feels like it's only ok for certain people to say what they feel and in fact, it's only ok for people to feel certain ways.  If you don't think the same way, you're a bad person.  I don't want people to hate me because they don't agree with me.  I don't hate other people because I don't agree with them.  I don't agree with polygamy, but I don't hate them.  I don't believe in the Hindi gods and goddesses, but I don't hate the people who do.  I love them and I don't know why there is so much antagonism!  Why can't people calm down and just talk about things, then be ok if they don't agree with each other?

A friend of mine posted this on her Facebook a while back and I really like it.  I think it says perfectly what I think on the subject.  "To let go isn’t to forget, not to think about, or ignore. It doesn’t leave feelings of anger, jealousy, or regret. Letting go isn’t about winning or losing. It’s not about pride and it’s not about how you appear, and it’s not obsessing or dwelling on the past. Letting go isn’t blocking memories or thinking sad thoughts, and doesn’t leave emptiness, hurt, or sadness. It’s not about giving in or giving up. Letting go isn’t about loss and it’s not about defeat. To let go is to cherish the memories, but to overcome and move on. It is having an open mind confidence in the future. Letting go is learning and experiencing and growing. To let go is to be thankful for the experiences that made you laugh, made you cry, and made you grow. It’s about all that you have, all that you had, and all that you will soon gain. Letting go is having the courage to accept change, and the strength to keep moving. Letting go is growing up." 



Matt said...

Tiffany, you know I love you, and you know that I can master the whole online civility, but I did want to take minor issue with something you said:

"He said something, and his first amendment rights were attacked! I feel terrible that people had their feelings hurt, but I think that the CEO should have every right to say that if that's how he feels."

In this whole CFA debacle, nobody tried to attack his first amendment rights. The first amendment guarantees that the government won't make any laws that upbraid his freedom of speech. In this case, that didn't happen. People seem to miss that there's a big difference between freedom of speech, and freedom from consequences. He said some (admittedly tone deaf) things that angered a large segment of the population, and they chose to boycott the establishment that he runs. He suffered the consequences of his speech, but nobody tried to pass any laws to stop him from saying it. As long as the reactions were legal (and I'm sure there were some that weren't--but for the most part, they were) his first amendment rights weren't attacked.

The real reason that so many people boycotted CFA, however, wasn't because of the CEO's comments. (Or, at least, not directly.) CFA has donated millions of dollars to organizations that lobby to pass discriminatory laws, support controversial reparative therapies, and, in one extreme case, are run by people who have publicly said it would be better for children of same-sex couple to be kidnapped than to remain with their loving parents. The CEO's statements were nothing more than a reminder that it's not just the man's opinion, but that it is also the company's policy to support these organizations with company money.

These company policies weren't new. Personally, I chose back in 2008 not to eat at CFA any longer because I didn't want my money being used to support organizations with which I do not agree. I couldn't care less who thinks what about the "traditional" definition of marriage. If I boycotted every company that had members of leadership who believe that I am not entitled to the same societal rights as any other member of this country, then I would have to move to a unibomber-style shack in the woods and live off the land. But as soon as the company itself starts handing out millions of dollars, that's when they stop getting mine.

(As to those cities who jumped on the bandwagon and tried to stop CFA from opening restaurants inside the city because of the company's stance? Those cities would have found out really quickly that to do so would be illegal.)

BTW, one of the most moving and well thought-out essays on this subject can be found here. http://www.owldolatrous.com/?p=288.

The methods used on both sides of this ludicrous experience were too driven by hate. But, as someone in the minority, as someone who is fighting--not for special treatment, but for basic equality--I can understand the heated feelings. I don't agree that hate the best way to achieve your goals, but I can understand it.

In any case, I have no intention of spending my money at CFA. I don't want to take the chance that my money will be used to support causes that hurt me personally. That's not attacking his first amendment rights...it's exercising mine. And if Mr. CEO wants to continue to make speeches about how my quest for equality is against God's will, I suppose that's his prerogative. I can't stop him. But that doesn't mean I have to keep quiet about it either.

In the end, I'm with you. We need to reach for more understanding and strive to find love amid the differences.

Brittny said...

I'll drink to that *looks around for some water...*

Seriously, well stated Tiff. Really enjoyed these two posts :)

Tiffany said...

You are completely right Matt. Perhaps the way I said that his first amendment rights were attacked didn't quite reflect what I meant. Of course no one out right told him that he wasn't allowed to say that, but by people boycotting his company and then the counter attack from the other side, it snowballed into a situation that is (in my opinion) out of control! I don't think it was the right thing for him to say it, but what I'm getting at is that when we don't feel free to express our opinions because of the destruction or lashing out that we will get because of it, that is an indirect attack on the first amendment rights by using fear to control people. It goes for everyone though. I think that those who are working for equal rights for the gay community or any minority should feel the same freedom to express themselves, but I know that isn't always the case. It isn't even often the case. The fear of discrimination or worse is there and that isn't fair at all. That's what this blog comes down to. That all of the hate is uncalled for and that we SHOULD be able to have civil conversations and that we SHOULDN'T be afraid to say what we feel. Maybe we'll have a change of heart/opinion/belief by it, maybe not. Either way, I wish those were conversations that would be had in a safe, accepting environment. I just know that for myself, I am terrified to have those conversations with most people because I don't want to be attacked for my thoughts/beliefs before I even have a chance to get somewhere with them and I have been in the past. On multiple occasions with multiple people. It saddens me that as a society we are not in a better place.

Matt said...

Sounds like we're (mostly) on the same page. :)

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