I honestly do not understand the state of liberal intolerance in America. We hear ad nauseum the cries from the liberal masses for tolerance and equality, but see a desire for neither. The quest from the left has morphed into a grotesque, obscene bullying for not tolerance, but unwavering support of their viewpoint. They do not seek a respecting of differing viewpoints, they wish for cultural victory.
As anybody with a television now knows, the restaurant Chick-fil-A is in a heated battle for the right to have an opinion. It sounds like I’m making the issue simplified, but I’m not. To my knowledge, no restaurant has refused service to homosexuals, no restaurant has created a hostile environment for homosexuals and to my knowledge, there are no plans to do either. The issue stems from the head of Chick-fil-A having an opinion and sharing that opinion with the press. That is all. When we frame this debate in this context, this issue becomes very clear: what is so wrong with the head of a company having an opinion?
Companies take stances all the time. Recently, JC Penney released an ad with a lesbian couple and two children. Then, in June, for father’s day, JC Penney released an ad with two homosexual men with two children and a caption that read:
“First Pals: What makes Dad so cool? He’s the swim coach, tent maker, best friend, bike fixer and hug giver – all rolled into one. Or two.”
Okay, so JC Penney is declaring their support for same-sex couples. For me, I saw the ad, registered the message in my brain, and went on with my life. JC Penney took a moral stance contrary to my own, and that was their right to do so. Did I march in front of the local JC Penney? Did I write an angry letter? No, I bought a tie at Macy’s, who, to my knowledge, pushed no social messaging that indicated that they were more interested in pushing an agenda than selling quality merchandise.
I’ll admit that I had never heard of Chick-fil-A until the recent controversy. I had never been to one until I went to Texas, where Dustin (yes, this Dustin) and fellow staffers were kind enough to take me to where I assumed the action was. What did I see when I was there? Anti-homosexual posters? A burning cross? No, I found advertisements for food and a cashier still in high school. There was no evil agenda infecting the interior of the restaurant. It was like every other fast-food place I had ever been to. Again, the left had overreacted.
Wednesday was “National Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” where people across the country showed their support for the company. At a Chick-fil-A in West Virginia, a bomb threat was called in to thwart the show of support for the company. The building was evacuated and no bomb was found.
I can’t help but find a glaring hypocrisy here. To my understanding, the main issue the left seems to take with Chick-fil-A’s stance is that it is, supposedly, “intolerant.” However, the threat of violence as a means to thwart a peaceful show of support by buying chicken sandwiches seems incredibly intolerant. So, like I’ve asked so many, many times before, who is really the intolerant side of this debate?
Imagine, for a second, if 1/100th of the controversy surrounding Chick-fil-A had surrounded JC Penney in the wake of their support for same-sex couples. Imagine if a bomb threat had been called into a JC Penney to thwart the show of support by customers. Would that have been acceptable? Furthermore, would such fascist, strong-arm tactics have remained in obscurity, like the Chick-fil-A bomb threat has? It seems to me there is a double-standard here.
Buy Chick-fil-A. Or don’t. Shop at JC Penney. Or don’t. Everyone has a right to their opinion. We cannot afford to become a society where unpopular speech is censored, hindered or the speaker otherwise punished. “Tolerance” needs to move beyond a liberal buzzword and needs to start being practiced by those who preach it. Tolerance means tolerating a viewpoint other than your own, it does not mean to coerce or extort others into agreement with you. Most importantly, we must strive to be the kind of society that tolerates all speech, and as Voltaire claims, be willing to fight for the right for all people to express their opinion.