Here it is, August 1, and the anti-Chick-fil-A crusade has reached “epic fail” proportions. Far from hurting Dan Cathy through his pocketbook, the threatened boycott has generated the Atlanta-based QSR (and owner/CEO Cathy) millions of dollars of extra business plus new regular customers, assuring that the boycott will continue to generate revenue even after Mike Huckabee’s anti-boycott fades into memory.
The British Submarine Service used to have a saying: “Never mind your enemies; watch out for your friends.” That was because a number of subs had been lost at sea when they were struck by surface ships from their own fleets. Boston mayor Dan Menino and Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel did the pro-SSM marriage cause more harm than good by their over-the-top threats to ratchet their zoning and permit laws against the chicken chain. While other cities have joined the witch-hunt, the ACLU (mirabile dictu) has fired their own shot across the various cities’ bows: barring Chick-fil-A over the personal views of its owner is an “open and shut” discrimination case. The Boston Globe and the Chicago Sun-Times, neither of which qualifies as a right-wing paper, have both criticized their local leaders for their threats of repressive tactics, and even AndrewSullivan wrote a we’re-better-than-that piece for the Daily Beast [reposted to his blog on The Dish]. Put simply, the “ban Chick-fil-A” movement will die faster than Huckabee’s candidacy did.
What we’re seeing is an authentically liberal backlash against a budding ersatz-liberal totalitarianism. However, we have to wonder if the backlash has enough staying power to open up space for traditional-marriage supporters to be heard. The kids may eat the chicken, but will they listen to us after they’ve munched the last waffle fry?