Eat Less Chicken

It used to be that competition was defined as more than one person striving for a common goal. The object was, as in a foot race, to get there first and, through the process of measuring oneself stride for stride against the others, keep improving. Competition, ideally, increases efficiency and improves the quality of products and talented people.

At some point, this traditional understanding of competition got transformed into something else. “Competitive,” in the industrial and commercial arena came to mean “able to destroy the others and throw them ring or knock then out of the running.” Tonya Harding tried it on Nancy Kerrigan. But, that was a one-off. In the world of commerce and finance it became an art that we now recognize as the work of venture/vulture capitalists — predatory behavior translated into the virtual realm of financial engineering. Some people refer to it, euphemistically, as “creative destruction.” They destroy what other people create so as to come out on top. It’s a contest to be number one in a particular arena or enterprise.

Comes now Chick-fil-A with a new wrinkle. Apparently, because the established purveyors of chicken parts to a hungry nation are firmly established, this Atlanta-based enterprise is aiming to make a name for itself by going after entrepreneurs that have nothing in common with their enterprise, other than the use of the words “eat” and “more” together in a phrase. They’re trying to make a name for themselves by going after a dude in Vermont.

Oh, and in Boston, they aim to open a store on the Freedom Trail to peddle, in addition to chicken, a Bible-centered anti-gay agenda. Now that’s innovation!

The Mayor of Boston won’t have it.

“Chick-fil-A doesn’t belong in Boston. You can’t have a business in the city of Boston that discriminates against a population. We’re an open city, we’re a city that’s at the forefront of inclusion,” Menino told the Herald yesterday.

“That’s the Freedom Trail. That’s where it all started right here. And we’re not going to have a company, Chick-fil-A or whatever the hell the name is, on our Freedom Trail.”

Winning customers by being obnoxious and blaming “God’s judgment.” Really? And when did judgment become a euphemism for wrath? That’s some twisted thinking!

“We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.

“We operate as a family business … our restaurants are typically led by families; some are single. We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families. We are very much committed to that,” Cathy emphasized.

That’s Dan Cathy’s justification for funding anti-gay marriage organizations. He’s not only committed to using food to tell people how to live, but by letting them pay for it, he’s providing an opportunity to recreate Jesus carrying his own cross. Somehow, Jesus’ message that he came to free men from domination got lost.

Perhaps I’m slow, but I only just realized that “traditional family” is the segregationists’ most recent rationale for exclusive behavior — another euphemism to disguise their antagonism to some group (any group will do) they don’t like. Perhaps it’s because, if they can’t shut someone out, they don’t know who they are. “Love thy neighbor as thyself” is even harder than “know thyself” for the person who knows neither.

Image: from Gay Marriage USA's Facebook album.

Monica Smith

Monica Smith writes Hannah's Blog. Born in Germany, she came to the United States as a child, living first in California, then after an interval in Chile, in New York. Married to a retired professor at the University of Florida, where she lived for 17 years, she moved to St. Simons Island, Georgia, in 1993 and now divides her time between Georgia and New Hampshire. (New Hampshire, she says, is always interesting during a presidential election.) She and her husband have three children and five grandchildren. Ms. Smith says she "learned long ago that I am not a good team player when I got hired at the Library of Congress, fresh out of college with a degree in political science and proficiency in four foreign languages, to 'edit' library cards and informed my supervisor that if she was going to insist I punch the clock exactly on time, my productivity was going to fall from being the highest to being the same as everyone else's. The supervisor opted to assign me to another building where there was no time-clock. After I had the first of our three children, I decided a paycheck wasn't worth the hassle."