Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Mumbles Menino chokes on “Jesus chicken”

Once again, Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy is at the center of a hoopla concerning things he said — or, rather, things people have pretty much lied about him saying — concerning gay marriage.  Reports the unbiased, completely non-partisan Trudy Ring of the neutral

If Mayor Thomas Menino (pictured) has his way, Chick-fil-A may be banned in Boston.
The fast-food chain, which has donated to antigay causes and whose executives this week admitted to antigay stances while saying the company doesn’t discriminate, is looking for locations in the city.  One is near the famous Freedom Trail, a series of historic sites connected to the American Revolution.  But Menino says that area, or any location in Boston, isn’t appropriate for a business with such policies.
“Chick-fil-A doesn’t belong in Boston,” Menino told the Boston Herald yesterday.  “You can’t have a business in the city of Boston that discriminates against a population.  We’re an open city, we’re a city that’s at the forefront of inclusion. … That’s the Freedom Trail.  That’s where it all started right here.  And we’re not going to have a company, Chick-fil-A or whatever the hell the name is, on our Freedom Trail.”
Menino said Chick-fil-A will find it “very difficult” to get licenses in Boston unless it changes its policies, and he plans to send a letter to the company’s headquarters in Atlanta “telling them my feelings on the matter.”

It has yet to be established that Chick-fil-A discriminates against anyone in their employment or business practices.  No one has been denied employment or fired because of homosexuality; no one has been denied purchase or hospitality because of their sexual preference.  But because Cathy and his family support traditional marriage and family values, Menino wants to economically discriminate against Chick-fil-A.

This is where I came in, almost exactly a year and a half ago.  And the same film is still running.

Back then, my focus was solely on the whiney, spoiled-brat psychology that automatically equates opposition with hatred.  Specifically, the post was motivated by a gay-man-on-the-street quote which ran, “It literally leaves a bad taste because I know the people who are putting this food in my mouth actively loathe me.”  (Actually, no, you don’t “know” that in any meaningful sense, Mr. Gay-Man-in-the-Street; it’s not even a reasonable presumption.  Rather, it’s what we in the Church call the sin of rash judgment.)

But the man threatening to make business difficult for Chick-fil-A isn’t your typical gay activist venting his/her narcissistic rage.  Rather, it’s Beantown’s popular, malapropism-spewing “Mayor for Life”, more or less promising to skew the local business licensing laws and procedures against a corporation that has yet to draw any substantive complaints about how it does business or how it treats its customers and employees.

A politician who waits to figure out which way the wind is blowing doesn’t survive long; his job largely depends on getting there before the wind does.  Menino isn’t the first major politico to guess that same-sex marriage will eventually triumph — after all, Massachusetts can be said to have started the ball rolling.  But it’s never a good idea to make a threat you may not be able to follow through with, especially when you make that threat on grounds that may be legally indefensible.

In fact, if you actually read the Baptist Press interview, you’ll see that homosexuals are mentioned nowhere in it — not by Cathy, not by K. Allan Blume (the piece’s author).  The closest it comes to portraying Cathy “admitting to antigay stances” is near the end:

Some have opposed the company’s support of the traditional family.  “Well, guilty as charged,” said Cathy when asked about the company's position.
“We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit.  We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.
“We operate as a family business ... our restaurants are typically led by families; some are single. We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families. We are very much committed to that,” Cathy emphasized.

These three paragraphs only become an antigay declaration when viewed through the blinkered institutional self-pity of the LGBT bloc.  That Cathy, by mentioning first wives, also takes an indirect swipe at single parenthood, divorce, post-divorce second marriages and blended families would have been just as much cause for hysterical leftist shrieking a mere twenty years ago; indeed, Cathy’s support of traditional marriage is far more subversive than merely derailing the cause du jour!

As noble and big-hearted as “inclusiveness” sounds — and who doesn’t want to feel included? — it never seems to come without a threat of persecuting those who don’t jump on the bandwagon.   Few people have shown less tolerance for opposition than those who have made “tolerance” their shibboleth.  Few people have shown themselves more willing to engage in foul-mouthed slanders and violent threats than those who claim to be against hate. Menino’s ill-informed rant, then, is of a piece with the general authoritarian, intolerant hypocrisy of the social left:  “Do unto your opponents as you accuse them of doing unto others.” 

But what Menino hopes to get out of the blast is unclear, since he needs no super-issue to bolster a flagging popularity or secure a sixth term; perhaps he’s looking at the governor’s office? Or a shot at the Senate?   If so, then Menino takes a greater risk than some may think.  For the Bay State was forced to allow gay marriage by judicial ukase, not popular will; wherever the issue has been left to the people, even in the bluest of blue states, gay marriage initiatives have been defeated. 

Gay rights advocates like to speak with triumphalist smugness of being “on the right side of history” (how quaintly Marxist an expression!).  In the end, though, history is not a blind force that pushes us to inevitable progress.  Rather, history is the narrative we choose to impose on past events; one storyteller’s inevitable progress is another’s unfortunate regress.  Being “on the right side of history” simply means being lucky enough to guess which way the wind is going to blow, and for how long.

But if you guess wrong, then you’re sitting adrift in a becalmed boat, your sails set to catch a breeze that never arises.  That’s when politicians become statesmen … another word for “unemployed”.