By Jason Stverak | Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity
Last Wednesday was not a good day to be in a chicken in America. For decades our feathered friends feared the name of Colonel Sanders. Today, their fate is sealed by political leaders who prefer to stifle free speech instead of supporting free enterprise. Politicians are crying fowl over the values of Chick-Fil-A restaurants and chickens are the innocent and tasty victims of their wrath.
Chickens are of course not the only victims of the attack against the first amendment. Taxpayers and those who want to be taxpayers are falling prey to the attack on free speech. Cities that desperately need the tax revenue and jobs new Chick-Fil-A franchises would bring to communities are no longer welcoming the fast-food giant.
A Facebook status update said it all above a photo of a suburban Chicago Chick-Fil-A with a line outside the door, “Every fast food restaurant should ask Rahm to boycott them.” This was in reference to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel comments that Chick-Fil-A “are not Chicago values.” The “Godfather” as he is affectionately called by the Drudge Report set off a firestorm in the Windy City with his remarks. The chicken franchise has been looking to expand into Chicago which desperately needs the jobs and tax dollars. Emanuel, angry over Chick-Fil-A President Dan Cathy’s remarks last month that he supported the biblical definition of marriage as between a man and woman, is finding that his disdain for the Chicken chain is resulting in greater sales for the restaurant.
Chick-Fil-A reported that last Wednesday which was the aforementioned “Appreciation Day” occurred “record-setting” sales day. Social media and new media served as the driving force behind the financial and public relations success of the event. However, the catalyst that resulted in a shortened life-span for millions of chickens, national earned media and huge profits for Chick-Fil-A, was an attack on free speech and the free market.
Agree or disagree with Dan Cathy’s comments regarding marriage is secondary in this controversy. Elected officials using a political agenda to decide who can and cannot operate a business are what most Americans find disconcerting.
The chickens have other concerns.