Though the Chik-fil-A boycott is now old news, I thought you might appreciate some friendly hints to help make your next boycott more effective. (Since I hate chicken, I consider myself to be a completely impartial bystander in this whole flap.)
1. Stick it to the man — the correct man. By blocking Chik-fil-A in Chicago, city officials are punishing an independent business owner, not to mention all the potential employees that have been looking for work in this down economy. Those individuals who stand to benefit from a Chik-fil-A in Chicago may or may not subscribe to Cathy’s beliefs. Banning restaurants because of their corporate president’s religious views is ludicrous. Launch a campaign against those you disagree with if you wish (without using taxpayer dollars, thank you very much), expose their beliefs (without exaggerating or sensationalizing please), but let them set up shop. Would you really have the government decide which restaurants align with its city’s beliefs? What if they decide that only one restaurant aligns perfectly? People are upset by how Cathy personally spends his personal profits. Fair enough. But this should not preclude a legitimate business from being in your city (as though one politician has the right to act as the conscience of an entire city anyway).
2. Speaking of sticking it to the correct man… don’t harass young people (a la Dan Savage) to prove your point. It’s bad form, and it makes you look like bullies. When I was a public school teacher, some teachers would punish/berate the students (elementary school) for being late. Ridiculous — you’re taking your anger out on the wrong person. This is the same principle. If you haven’t seen this video, watch it. A man decides to stick it to the sweet, young, but unlucky Chik-fil-A drive through worker. This point could also be renamed: “Don’t allow the crazies in your party to go to extremes and make you all look like idiots!”
3. The video also exemplifies another helpful hint: Don’t be drama queens. Saying Truett Cathy is hateful when his quote was mild (and in response to a question) undermines your cause. Exaggerating the quote might benefit you in the short run, providing free publicity to get your message out, but overall it makes you the boy who cried wolf. And if you’re going to pull the hate card, be sure that the business you’re boycotting is actually hateful so you don’t get pictures like this:
4. Do envision the ramifications. A (pro gay-marriage) friend of mine on Facebook said that her response to all this was to eat Ben and Jerry’s because of their liberal politics. So, while there’s nothing wrong with a boycott per say, you can see where this could be headed. Are we going to divide up businesses by red beliefs/ blue beliefs, and then only patronize the ones that line up perfectly with our opinions? Why not just draw a line down the middle of the country and retreat to our specific sides? At some point, this becomes ridiculous.
So there you have it. Now go out there and eat more chicken! Or don’t. But don’t allow your cause to be undermined by sloppy reactions and silly extremists.