Joanna Schroeder admires the fact that Americans are starting to realize the power of our votes, not just the one in the ballot box, but also the ones we cast every time we spend money supporting or boycotting a company.
Oh Mike Huckabee.
Huckabee, Huckabee, Huckabee. You know him, he ran for president but wasn’t really expected to win because of his fundamentalist bent.
And Chick-fil-A, you know them too, because they’re now notorious for the way in which President Dan Cathy proudly announced that he was “guilty as charged” of supporting anti-LGBT organizations and being against same-sex marriage.
Now Mike Huckabee is taking all his American rights to free speech to just go right ahead and declare August 1, 2012 “Chick-fil-A Day” on his Facebook page. He wants everyone who supports the Cathy family to just march over to their local Chick-fil-A and eat some chicken in order to show support for a family whom he calls ““a wonderful Christian family who are committed to operating the company with Biblical principles and whose story is the true American success story”.
Of course I’m horrified that someone wants to show support for a man who donates to and supports anti-gay organizations. However, at its very most fundamental level, this is sort of what makes America what we are.
I mean, the same day that Huckabee announces his own made-up holiday, The Jim Henson Company declares that not only will it no longer be providing Chick-fil-A with toys for their kids’ meals, but that it will donate the money they’ve made from said toys to GLAAD. Very cool.
The LA Times explains another example of people using whatever power they hold to help show support for their cause, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino:
Also not a fan of Chick-fil-A’s position: Boston Mayor Thomas Menino. In an interview with the Boston Herald, Menino vowed to block the chain from opening up shop in his city, promising to make it extremely difficult for the company to procure the required licenses.
“Chick-fil-A doesn’t belong in Boston,” Menino told the publication. “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.”
Nearly 4,000 people have signed a pledge to boycott Chick-fil-A.
I would sign that pledge.
Regardless of which show of true American protests you would back, I think these three different ways of affecting change show where we are as a culture in terms of protests. My dad marched in anti-war demonstrations during the Vietnam War. My brother and I traced chalk body outlines outside of our school to represent students who were being killed for protesting in various countries with oppressive regimes. Occupy Wall Street protesters called attention to the wealth gap with the online campaign We Are The 99%.
Now—as always but perhaps more than ever—money talks. We’re voting with the one thing that really counts in this country: Our dollars. And it seems to work. JC Penney hired Ellen DeGeneres as a spokesperson, and also featured a real life two-dad family in their catalogue and saw sales increase. And as Americans we realize that this stuff is important, and so we use our dollars to back the protests that mean something to us.
So, what do you support with your dollars? If you’re for LGBT rights, are you boycotting Chick-fil-A or are you willing to eat there when the craving strikes?
Did you go buy some kitchen towels at JC Penney like I suggested? I did. Actually it was baby clothes and a Crock Pot. I can’t say I’m a total JC Penney convert, I’m pretty stuck on Target, but I try to be a “Penney’s” (as my mom calls it, like they’re friends) supporter.
Did you stop watching The Bachelor because of the producers’ obvious prejudice against people of color being stars on the show?
In what ways do you use your dollars to support or protest a company’s affiliations?
Image of 3D man holding up dollar sign courtesy of Shutterstock