Wednesday, August 1, 2012

One small sandwich for freedom....

Most of you will be familiar with the controversy currently surrounding Chick-fil-A, the chicken sandwich chain that is ever-present down south, and only recently making inroads in the northern part of the country. The family that owns the chain is devoutly religious, and they put their faith into action by closing all of their stores on Sunday, a type of Sabbath observance that seems quite quaint now, but was far more common just 30 or 40 years ago.

Their CEO recently gave an interview in which he expressed his belief that marriage should remain between a man and a woman, and this simple expression of belief (a belief that he shared with Barack Obama, until just a couple of months ago) gave the lefties vapors.

The Mayors of Chicago and Boston announced that Chick-fil-A restaurants were not welcome in their cities (because, you know, both cities have all the jobs they need) and the gay rights crowd announced a boycott of Chick-fil-A.

The backlash to this shameful bullying has been tremendous. People on both sides of the gay marriage debate pointed out that the Chick-fil-A chain does not discriminate against gays in hiring, in serving, or in any other way. The ham-fisted actions of the government officials was in response to a belief, not to an action, and most Americans understand the First Amendment well enough to know that government's not allowed to punish you for thinking. (At least not yet: If there's a second Obama term, all bets are off.)

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee used his access to the airwaves to declare Aug. 1 "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day" across America, and urged people who value freedom of speech to patronize a Chick-fil-A restaurant to demonstrate support.

That's not easy to do here in Minnesota. According to the corporate website, they have just three Minnesota locations. One is in Mankato, and another is in the food court at MSP airport, on the other side of the security checkpoints, making it impossible to get to.

The third location is - in a wonderful bit of irony - on the campus of the University of Minnesota. Right there in old Moscow-on-the-Mississippi, in the food court of Coffman Student Union, is a small Chick-fil-A "express" counter. It's only open on weekdays from 11 a.m.-2 p.m., but a few friends and I made plans to have lunch there today to express our support.

It turned out that several hundred other people did so as well. We arrived a little ahead of the crowd, about 11:30, but the line was already out the door like this:

We got our food and sat down, but not before making some small talk and meeting a couple terrific guys named Brian and Charles. I'll protect their last names because they both work in the "belly of the beast" of a government agency, and find that they have to be careful about sharing their political beliefs with co-workers. They were two great guys who joined our table and shared a conversation.

New Chick-fil-A friends, Brian and Charles

Ready for a great sandwich!
As we ate, there was a steady stream of people coming out the food court. While a couple of them had plates from Panda Express or the pizzeria, the vast majority were carrying trays full of chicken sandwiches and the magnificent waffle fries.

Outside, the line was getting longer. It now ran out of the food court, turned a corner, and went down the full length of a corridor before turning another corner. At noon there were easily more than 100 people in line, and when I left about 1:00 p.m., the line was longer, even though people were moving through and being fed very quickly.

What I'll remember the most was the almost joyous atmosphere. Strangers smiled and nodded at one another, knowing that we weren't just sharing a meal, we were sharing a little taste of freedom. They enjoyed knowing that we were - admittedly in a very small way - taking a stand against the left-wing bullies and their political correctness. There wasn't one iota of gay-bashing going on, it was simply a large group of people expressing support for the notion that we still have freedom of speech in this country.

Of course, because they've been losing in the marketplace of ideas, the left has decided in recent years that instead of continuing to compete, they will attempt to just shut their opponents up.

This is evidenced by a knuckleheaded U student named Matthew Haas, who is apparently leading a petition drive to have Chick-fil-A kicked off campus. He told the Minnesota Daily student newspaper that "my dream would be to see the restaurant removed from Coffman sometime this academic year.” The store was also egged last week, according to the Daily.

That's now the way of the left: Agree with us, or we will destroy you. The party of Obama, Pelosi and Klobuchar won't be happy until everyone who disagrees is silenced, or maybe sent to one of the "reeducation camps" that the Soviets and Chinese were so adept at operating.

It was great, for a day, to see a large group standing up to the tyranny of the left. Go over and get yourself a chicken sandwich some time.


  1. GREAT story Tim! I know some of the Chick-Fil-A workers and I am sure they were pleased to get this business today. They like to wrap my "to go" food that I bring home to the family because we all love Chick-Fil-A here.

  2. Tim: It's your new friend Brian checking in again. Neither Charles nor I really consider ourselves to be working in the belly of the beast. We're quite proud of our work trying to make sure taxpayers get good value for their tax dollar.

    But the rest of your post is right on! It was a great day.

    Now I went back again today to see if the "Kiss Mor Chiks" day was going well. I got there about 12:05 and left at about 12:20. There were no protesters to be seen, not one. There was a very bored looking film crew sitting around. There were still a proportional number of tables with Chick-fil-a packagin. So from my point of view it wasn't much of a protest. Maybe they were there earlier or later. But at prime time they were not to be seen.

    Thanks for the blogs you write.

    We had a fine time meeting you and Bill.