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October 21, 2014, 4:29 pm
Jim Leach Contact Jim Leach

Jim Leach is a lifelong Springfield resident whose first radio gig was at WMAY -- in 1983! After a stint as a reporter at Channel 20, he rejoined the station part-time in 1990, and began working there full-time in 1995. A year later, he began hosting his daily talk show. These days, Springfield wakes up with Jim and his unique blend of fiery conversation, newsmaking interviews, hard-hitting facts and unbridled opinion. Jim is a multiple winner of the Illinois Broadcasters Association Silver Dome Award and the Illinois Times Readers' Choice Award.


Batter-Dipped Bigotry

All of a sudden, everyone is talking about a restaurant that isn't even in Springfield... yet.

I've had numerous Facebook friends posting about Chik-Fil-A, and there is no indifference about it.  They either, out of the blue, begin professing their love for the golden-brown juicy goodness of their chicken sandwich... or they condemn the underlying subtext of intolerance and inequality because of the stated views of the chain's owner, who actively supports organizations that oppose marriage equality and promote "pro-family" initiatives (so long as the family in question meets their predetermined standards).

 

I'm as outspoken as they come in my support of marriage equality.  I have no use for the often-absurd arguments that are offered up to deny equal rights in a foolish effort to preserve the "sanctity" of an institution that stopped being sacred somewhere around Ronald Reagan's second wife, or Newt Gingrich's third (I lose count sometimes).  And I'm more than willing to mix it up in political discussions just about anywhere, anytime.

That said, it turns out that for some people, a chicken sandwich is just a chicken sandwich, not a political statement.  Some people don't look for subtext in their choice of meal.  (This would also explain why most of my dinner guests are not amused when I invite them over and serve them an empty plate -- and then when they ask where the food is, I say, "With Mitt Romney's tax returns!!"  Maybe it's funnier if you're not hungry.)

Maybe on this issue, we can agree to find some middle ground.  After all, one order of waffle fries more or less probably will not decide the outcome of the fight for equality.  So maybe we can agree that simply eating at Chik-Fil-A does not have to be a political statement.  It doesn't necessarily mean you are thumbing your nose at fairness and equity.  It is possible to indulge in a spicy chicken sandwich without trying to tear apart same-sex couples and take their children away.

Eating there is one thing.  Making a big point about how you're eating there (and why), is something else entirely.  If you are going out of your way to post about your love of Chik-Fil-A; if you are making a point of letting everyone know that you "support" Chik-Fil-A; if you are actively encouraging others to eat there not for the food, but for ulterior motives; if you are now becoming not just occasional customer, but PR rep for the chain -- well, then, we get the message.  And we'll know where to look for you -- on the special "Extra Bigoted And Homophobic Value Menu."

 

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