“My View” from the July 31, 2012, edition of “Viewpoint with Eliot Spitzer.”
Maybe it’s because it’s the hot dog days of summer, but a lot is going on in the political world of chicken sandwiches.
It all began when Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy made clear his far-right views on same-sex marriage, and attention was drawn to his significant contributions to anti-gay causes.
That triggered a move to boycott the company, led by a slew of mayors and folks — myself included — who said we shouldn’t leave our dollars at a company with views so fundamentally at odds with our own. And there was also a countermove.
Former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas called on all those who agreed with Cathy’s narrow-minded view to go to Chick-fil-A tomorrow, Aug. 1, to show their support for the company.
Then came the humorous responses, like that of actor and comedian Steve Martin, who tweeted: ”Had dinner at Chick-fil-A — then I married a man. There was something about that sandwich …”
Then there were the reactions that went a bridge too far.
Christine Quinn, president of the City Council here in New York, suggested that maybe restaurants whose owners had views she disagreed with shouldn’t be here in the city at all. I haven’t seen her suggesting the Catholic Church leave town, even though its views on same-sex issues mirror those of Chick-fil-A’s CEO. A New York Times editorial today properly rapped her knuckles for her position.
There’s a line here — an important line. The folks whose views are at odds with mine or yours, abhorrent as they may be, of course have the right to run their businesses — as long as they comport themselves in accordance with the law. They shouldn’t be prevented from opening their shops and selling their wares. Government has no business telling them what to think or how to proselytize.
But we as consumers also have every right to take our dollars somewhere else — so much for the chicken sandwiches I used to love. And while we’re at it, there are a couple of other companies we should think about leaving behind.
Take Brawny paper towels, owned by the Koch brothers, who fund every far-right super PAC under the sun. I don’t know if Bounty really is the “quicker picker-upper” as they claim, but I’m going Bounty over Brawny from now on.
And I don’t know if Koch brothers–owned Angel Soft toilet paper is more squeezable than Charmin, but I’m going with Charmin.
Point is, they all have the right to make their goods and be here and proselytize all they want, but we as consumers have the right — I might even say obligation — to react accordingly and take our dollars to companies that will not support far-right causes we fundamentally disagree with.
That’s “My View.”