Playing Chicken

Did you eat at Chik-fil-A yesterday?  Sounds as like a lot of people did.  They endured long lines and tons of people to demonstrate support for various things – free speech, traditional values, Christian principles, etc.  I don’t assume that everyone there was there for all of the above reasons, but it seemed to be a unifying action for people who agree on broad principles but might disagree on more specific details.

I don’t think we have a Chik-fil-A in town, so I didn’t go.  I’m not overly worried about it though.  I suspect that beyond the feel-good spectrum, such an action has zero long-term impact.  
But it makes me hopeful.
If people are willing to endure long lines and a cross-spectrum of people (and foods) they might not otherwise have encountered in their day, there is reason for hope.  But the hope isn’t centered on waffle fries.  The hope is that if people are willing to spend this amount of time on something they believe in, they’ll recognize that they can spend that amount on time on something that might actually make a difference regarding the protections of what they believe in.
We need people that will take the time to be informed about what is happening in their government and to see themselves as potential agents of change.  We need people that will consider grass-roots efforts to get ‘normal’ people into public office at all levels of government.  We need people who will dedicate their time to holding media accountable for coverage of events.  We need people who will spend just as much time in getting people out for the vote as they did waiting in line to buy fast food.  
Hopefully, a moment of solidarity in the face of what often appears to be an insurmountable wall of antagonistic voices will encourage people to approach change using different tactics than their opponents.  Perhaps chewing over food together will remind people to eschew the divisive, hateful, angry, intolerant speech that they resent being used against them.  Perhaps this is a good reminder that change – real, lasting, powerful change – begins when people can sit down together around a meal and talk to each other.  It’s not as fast or satisfying as bashing your opponent or threatening to curtail their liberty for being intolerant, but it’s very, very, very hard to stop once it gets rolling.  

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