The Daily Show: Fast Feud Nation

From the August 9, 2012 edition

Did you, by any chance, go out to lunch last Wednesday? Maybe you were foraging around for a little fast food. And while you were out looking for lunch, did you notice anything peculiar?

“Hundreds of thousands flocked to Chick-fil-A around the nation for ‘Appreciation Day.’ … It was all to show support for the company after its president said he is against same-sex marriage,” CNN reported.

It’s a protest, baby! And finally, a form of activism Americans can fully embrace — causing social change through the act of eating a fast food sandwich. Looks like Gandhi had it backward. Now you may wonder how we got here. Two weeks ago, people got wind of Chick-fil-A’s CEO and president Dan Cathy’s feelings about gay marriage.

“I think we are inviting God’s judgment when we shake our fist at him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage,’ and I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to try to redefine what marriage is all about,” Cathy said on “The Ken Coleman Show” on July 26.

Of course, it’s perfectly OK to have the audacity to re-engineer God’s chicken design to produce 95 percent breast meat. And then drop a couple of strips of bacon and slices of cheese on those bad boys because you can’t take everything in Leviticus like it’s the word of God.

Anyway, Cathy is a private citizen, and he’s got every right to his opinions. So we’ve got ourselves a pretty typical culture war skirmish. It doesn’t seem enough to warrant a Million Mouth March. Until …

“Boston Mayor Thomas Menino is promising to block Chick-fil-A from opening a store in Boston,” MSNBC reported.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is also promising that he won’t allow Chick-fil-A in Chicago, and San Francisco is telling the fast food restaurant it isn’t welcome.

You know how conservatives are always complaining about the government persecuting them for their beliefs — mistaking not being able to do whatever they want when they want for censorship? Well in this case, I’m pretty sure they got something. You can’t outlaw a company with perfectly legal practices just because you find their CEO’s views repellant. I’m not sure which amendment covers that, but I’m pretty sure it’s in the top one. I don’t think these mayors thought this through.

I have no idea what actually drove people to Chick-fil-A last week. All I know is that if the massive culture war Armageddon comes in the form of record one-day sales of chicken, maybe everybody walks away from this a winner.

The right finally walks away with a legitimate First Amendment gripe. And for people who are gay or support gay marriage, I can understand how seeing thousands of people coming out to make this statement is disheartening, but take solace in this: Gay marriage is happening. It isn’t going backward, and your bonus is you get gay marriage. All your political opponents are going to get is Type 2 diabetes.