People who know me well know that I am a fan of Chick-Fil-A. I go to the Chick-Fil-A in my neighborhood so often that the cashiers know my order before I even say it–8 piece chicken nugget meal with barbecue sauce and lemonade. (They routinely joke with me about my feelings on the now nonexistent lemon pie that used to be an integral part of my Chick-Fil-A experience.) Therefore, I was a bit disturbed when I realized how much negative publicity Chick-Fil-A has been receiving lately.
Due to perceptions of their views on gay marriage, Chick-Fil-A has been labeled as intolerant. As a result, many cities (including my hometown of Philadelphia) are in the process of banning Chick-Fil-A because the chain has been perceived as discriminatory. (Thankfully, the locations by my apartment would not be affected by Philadelphia’s ban since I live outside of the city limits.) It all seemed to come out of nowhere. My favorite fastfood restaurant had become a pariah.
Then August 1, 2012 happened. I missed a lot of it because I was traveling to my fraternity’s national conference, but what I saw on the news was nothing less than shocking. Chick-Fil-A locations across the country were filled to capacity with people who supported the chain’s stance on gay marriage. Unfortunately, many of these people were right-wing conservatives who came across as slightly biased and ignorant (at least in media coverage). Chick-Fil-A had now been transformed into the symbol of the conservative fight for the preservation of their moral values. Today, advocates of gay marriage have scheduled a “kiss in” to in response to the highly successful conservative movement.
In the mean time, I find myself missing the days when my love of Chick-Fil-A chicken nuggets was not perceived in any way as an indication of my political views. As my frat brothers and I were searching for food in Atlanta on August 1, we found ourselves avoiding Chick-Fil-A just because we didn’t want to get caught in the extremely long lines (and end up inadvertently running into media outlets). We all talked about the menu items that we were craving, but we ended up going to a local restaurant within walking distance of our hotel. (As a side note, Atlanta has some amazing restaurants.)
For now, I’ll cherish the many memories I have of the pre-political days of my beloved Chick-Fil-A chicken nuggets because I have a feeling that they may not be around for too much longer.