Today is Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, where supporters of the restaurant chain use their dollars to eat at the restaurant and show appreciation for the company whose CEO has come under fire for expressing his views on traditional marriage. The event was suggested by former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee:
I ask you to join me in speaking out on Wednesday, August 1 “Chick Fil-A Appreciation Day.” No one is being asked to make signs, speeches, or openly demonstrate. The goal is simple: Let’s affirm a business that operates on Christian principles and whose executives are willing to take a stand for the Godly values we espouse by simply showing up and eating at Chick Fil-A on Wednesday, August 1. Too often, those on the left make corporate statements to show support for same sex marriage, abortion, or profanity, but if Christians affirm traditional values, we’re considered homophobic, fundamentalists, hate-mongers, and intolerant. This effort is not being launched by the Chick Fil-A company and no one from the company or family is involved in proposing or promoting it.
There’s no need for anyone to be angry or engage in a verbal battle. Simply affirm appreciation for a company run by Christian principles by showing up on Wednesday, August 1 or by participating online – tweeting your support or sending a message on Facebook.
This morning at 10:00am central, the Chicago GOP planned a press conference where they are launching a formal complaint against Alderman Moreno and Mayor Emanuel with the Illinois Department of Human Rights and Attorney General Lisa Madigan for their role in suppressing free speech:
The complaint states that the Alderman and the Mayor have broken civil rights laws pertaining to religious freedom and the First Amendment in denying Chick fil A a permit to operate its business in the City of Chicago.
At the conclusion of the press conference, the complaint will be delivered to the Attorney General’s office and IDHR in the Thompson Center.
Meanwhile, some gay-marriage advocates are planning a “Kiss Mor Chiks” event Friday, a kiss-in designed to show their displeasure with the company and its CEO’s stance.
Companies are not immune from the larger culture wars, and it seems that our brands and our companies are migrating to one “side” or another. And consumers, many of whom feel unrepresented in the political world, are seeking out other venues where their voices can be heard, and where they can have an impact.
I’ve written before about this age of “Bully Marketing,” where public companies are either seeking out or responding to pressure to promote leftist positions either through their advertising or choice of products to carry. In these cases, it was, above all, odd from a profit perspective; why would a public company (and its shareholders) seek to alienate one sector of its potential consumers in order to please another? Or is it the case that those working for these companies, many making merchandise and advertising decisions from headquarters in big cities on the East Coast, out-of-touch with their consumer base?
Chick-fil-A, a private company, chooses to stand by its Christian founding principles by, for example, remaining closed on Sundays. As a private company, much as Ben and Jerry’s was prior to being purchased by Unilever, it can and should pursue whatever positioning and principles its owners believe are right. Without shareholders to answer to, the loss (or gain) by such actions are largely absorbed by the owners themselves.
Whether we’re inundated with political products at the Gap, Target, or Unilever, or running to support the First Amendment rights of a CEO of a private company, politics are integrated into the consumer space. And those Americans who are taking part in the Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day along with the Kiss Mor Chiks event are ultimately seeking a way to express their points-of-view as our insulated system makes it difficult to do effectively in the political world itself.
For myself, this may just be more satisfying than voting, where my choices have been restricted by party bosses and where the cycle of incumbency and externalities make true representation one of the last priorities of the so-called public servants.