Aug. 1, 2012
My wife and I decided to brave the heat and the crowds at our local Mall today. We wanted to show our appreciation for Chick-fil-A. And I was, frankly, interested to see how this day would look. We live in Annapolis, the liberal capital of a liberal state. So we thought this would be a good test of National Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day. And we were grateful to Gov. Mike Huckabee for sending out his stirring call to service: "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for Chick-fil-A."
I cannot honestly say it was a huge crowd at the food court. It seemed no larger than Anderson Cooper's nightly audience on CNN. Still, 80% of the folks at the tables were sporting Chick-fil-A bags. Taco Bell and Sbarro's shared the rest of the tables, it seemed, with Five Guys, a very popular Washington area burger chain. The line was about 10 minutes long. That's the longest we'd ever waited at a Chick-fil-A, but it moved along. In line, however, we saw a lot of people getting their lunches and taking them out to the parking lot. So that 80% dining in figure had to be weighed against all the takeouts.
We ran into people we knew, of course. Folks we know from our church. Friends and co-workers. One man, Brian, told me his son had worked in the General Assembly in Maryland when the state's political elite jammed their faux marriage bill through the legislature.
Brian's son goes to the local community college and is eager to transfer to a four-year to major in political science--so he can learn how to counter such shenanigans. Perhaps, I thought, the young fellow should major in business and become a billionaire.
Then, like New York's Mayor Michael Bloomburg, he could threaten state lawmakers with bankrolling their opponents if they don't approve same-sex stuff and promise them campaign cash if they do. In any other state, but my native New York, that would count as bribery and extortion. In the N.Y. legislature, it's pretty much politics as usual.
I told Brian I thought his son should be commended. What we saw today was a nationwide outpouring against bullying by the bully boys--the ones always carp about bullying. The very idea of beating up Chick-fil-A is offensive. My wife, normally apolitical, was incensed. She likes Paul Newman salad dressing a lot. And she likes Ben & Jerry's ice cream. We don't buy those products because we don't agree with their owners' donations to Planned Parenthood and other leftist "charities." But we wouldn't dream of trying to shut down Annapolis businesses that feature those products.
Brian agreed. It's about the moral issue of marriage, to be sure. But it's about more than that: It's about freedom. "I've had enough of those 'gaystapo tactics,'" we heard one diner say. We agreed. And it was fun to learn that today is also Rush Limbaugh's twenty-fourth anniversary behind the golden microphone. I don't think they'll let Rush smoke his cigar at his local Chick-fil-A.
We should not have to organize and rush out to make a statement like this. But it's a great thing--and talk radio really helps with this--that we still can. As we surveyed the happy diners at the local Mall, it was good to know that Americans were standing up and sitting down for freedom.
One young man called in to WMAL radio this morning. He said he'd been accosted by hostiles at the Chick-fil-A where he works in Northern Virginia. He is actually in favor of letting same-sex couples marry, but "I'm just a poor college kid trying to earn enough to stay in school." The outrageous behavior of the always enraged legions is going to drive millions of people our way.
I have been on the receiving end of their nonsense for decades. Whenever I would debate on the right to life with some Planned Parenthood minion, usually female, she would trot out their standard line of abuse: You conservative men want to keep women in the kitchen, pregnant and barefoot.
When they trotted out that hackneyed line, I'd reply: Yes, my wife has been pregnant and in the kitchen--but she was never barefoot. That would have been out of uniform. You see, she's a Navy Captain, and she ran the food service at Bethesda Naval Hospital. And by the way, it was a $25 million operation.
Chick-fil-A bravely took the heat today. And they have to take the heat. If they didn't maintain proper temperature, they'd risk undercooking their chicken. Which they never do. It's a good reminder, though, of what President Harry Truman used to say: "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen."