Thursday, August 9, 2012

Chick-fill-a and Why You Should Vote No On Election Day

Ah the Chick-fil-a wars, flaring up in good  ole’ Chicago.  If you missed it, Mayor Rahm Emmanul essentially vetoed a plan for the southern chicken based fast food chain chick-fil-a to open a franchise in the loop (that’s downtown Chicago for all you east coast swells).  This was in no small part based on the fact that chick-fill-a’s supreme leader and president announced to the media that he was for a legal definition of “traditional marriage” (btw I don’t think my parents would count as “traditional marriage” {whatever that means} as they both had jobs and stuff throughout my childhood, which in no way would Don Draper have approved of).  That said, he meant it about gay people, and how gay folks shouldn’t be able to get married to each other.  But the denial of zoning permits by the City of Chicago was treated as the end of the universe by some conservative public intellectuals.  Ross Douthat led the charge by claiming that a denial of building permits in the city of Chicago is the greatest affront to democracy in the history of the Republic.

Guess it was like the Fort-Sumnter-being-fired-upon for fried chicken aficionados.  But this type of zoning fight strikes me as being almost inevitable.  I mean, once you turn marriage and who gets to be a family into a political issue, politicians will treat it like a political issue, because you made it a political issue.  Douthat wants to have his cake and eat it too.  He wants it to be fine for state legislators or voters to treat who gets to marry who as a matter of political preference but then he loses his mind when the other side of that political argument responds politically.  I mean, if marriage and who gets to be a family becomes a political issue, don’t be shocked when politicians treat the issue politically!  Mayor Rahm’s actions might not be the model of municipal governance but if captain chick-fil-a wanted to get his zoning permits through easily, he shouldn’t have started demanding the state start making laws about who gets to marry who and who gets to be a family while others are relegated to the status of sub-families.  And why?  Because significant political constituencies in the City of Chicago find those sorts of political statements incredibly offensive.  And in this country local communities have controls over their zoning from opening bars to opening tire plants.   Once marriage is made a political issue, politicians will act politically, because politicians respond to political issues in a political manner.

If it’s okay to put some folk’s marriage in the political gun sights, it’s okay to tie up your zoning and building permits, because you just said that one of the most basic acts of life-the ability to marry who you love-is a political issue.  So why can’t your zoning permit be a political issue?  Cry me a river Douthat, just don’t try to marry David Brooks, some states have laws against that sort of thing.

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