‘I’m Still Here’: Sarah Palin Endorses Anti-Gay Chicken, Chick-fil-A Debacle More Than It Seems

In case you were just beginning to forget who she was, former half-term Governor Sarah Palin (R-AK) thought it best to throw her hat into the ring recently over the apparent Chick-fil-A anti-gay controversy.

Pro-equality activists across the country are currently protesting the Chick-fil-A company after its president, Dan Cathy, condemned homosexuality in a recent radio interview. While Cathy has a history of hateful rhetoric regarding same-sex marriage – referring to it often as  to “twisted up kind of stuff,” and suggesting it comes from a “deprived mind” – the company’s stance against LGBT America is equally as deplorable.

Historically, Chick-fil-A has never made a secret of the bigotry and intolerance of its conservative corporate ethos. The company has openly (and sometimes illegally) factored employee marital and sexual status – as well as civic and church involvement – in its hiring processes.

The company refuses employment protections to LGBT employees and has been reported to fire employees it deems as having engaged in “sinful” behavior (like pre-marital sex – I wonder if they would have fired Bristol?). In fact, the Chick-fil-A organization has reportedly been sued at least 12 times since 1988 on charges of employment racial and religious discrimination.

“I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.” – Dan Cathy, Chick-fil-A President

Sounds like just the kind of corporate-citizen for “real Americans” to throw their political weight behind, right?

But of course, every side lays claim to its own freedom of expression, however debased said expressions may be. Mama Grizzly herself joins other famed conservatives like Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, Rev. Billy Graham and The Family Research Council in support of the Chick-fil-A organization; a fast food chain (nothing says “concerned for the well being of millions of Americans” than gross amounts of cheap, mass-delivered flesh parts) that has donated millions of dollars to anti-gay organizations, including “reparative therapy” groups like Exodus International that support the “pray the gay away” ruse of social engineering made famous recently by the now-debunked Bachmann clan.

Palin – who is notoriously no friend of gays, tolerance, equal rights, or common sense – offered this tidbit of armor to an ideal that is already fireproof within conservative ranks:

“Stopped by Chick-fil-A in The Woodlands to support a great business,” she tweeted on Friday, posting a picture of her and husband Todd giving the chain a thumbs up.

Palin’s weak yet public-enough-for-ratings “support” for Chick-fil-A stands in stark contrast to what many are undertaking as a social backlash against the company’s regressive policies. From Human Rights Campaign protests in Washington, DC, to scores of pro-equality youths stationed outside numerous Chick-fil-A establishments throughout the country, empowered and appalled citizens are taking action. So far, seven universities have launched Change.org petitions demanding that Chick-fil-A be blocked from their campuses: University of Illinois,University of Kansas, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Ball State University, College of Charleston, Wichita State University, and Minnesota State University.

Meanwhile, politicians like Former NY Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D-NY) and Philadelphia Councilman Jim Kenny are each calling for boycotts and legislative resolutions against the Chick-fil-A company, respectively.

Now, proponents for Chick-fil-A’s heinous attitude toward gays will often remark that it is within the private company’s First Amendment rights to do so, and that any sort of government-condoned boycott or legislative reprimand is unconstitutional. And, in line with the sentiments of Citizens United, apparently even corporations are granted undeniable human rights.

But is not the issue itself the fact that the company – in exercising its “rights” – is openly discriminating against people while funding and justifying hate groups? Should the company not be held accountable – at least socially – for that?

Chick-fil-A is not a “victim” of unconstitutionalism. The company and its leaders are actively and purposely engaging against the interests of a minority group; a group whose supposed “agenda” just so happens to contradict the company’s modern-founded interpretations (or, rather, cherry-picking) of the Bible.

In our “fast food nation,” this power player is using its influence over our “values” to sway our opinions, one way or another. Its campaigns – and others like them – against LGBT people are subversely taken to heart, as we see more and more hateful rhetoric build up within the ranks of youth and the halls of power and culminate in disgusting and often violent transgressions.

That is the point of this controversy, really. It isn’t about “big brother” trying to stifle a company’s “rights.” It is not about gay kids being denied the right to cook chicken. It has little to nothing to do with whether or not Dan Cathy approves of someone’s wedding.

The big picture is what this conveys to the people in this country – specifically youth – that are impressionable enough to follow suit.

If sexual, gender and/or religious discrimination is permissable on a public and national scale – whether from and within a private company or not – why would any person believe it to be wrong? If hate is sanctioned and approved by popularism, why would tolerance and peace prevail?

We live in a nation in which it is fashionable to criticize and condemn gay soldiers, or bully gay kids. We are taught that it is funny to snicker at the idea that two same-sex people – facing the adversity of the world around them – who find it in their hearts to even want to commit to one another in marriage.

And if we are not specifically taught to hate, we are encouraged to fear. We are conditioned to rally against what our divisive social structures deem as the anti-norm. Houses of worship continue to vilify one another, and children are taught that – to remain in God’s good graces – they too must hate their neighbor. As mainstays of our pop culture opt to err on the side of regression, we followers tend to abide. Our inclinations are assuaged via apathy and outward loathing, masked as communal “togetherness.”

Sarah Palin is not standing in support of a chicken restaurant. She does not give a single care as to what happens to the company – or its employees, or their families, or those they discriminate against – from one day to the next. Instead, she is placating the need for outward acceptability as it best suits her nature and that of those around her.

If we cannot collectively take responsibility for our society’s paths – and instead rely on the seemingly infallible dictations of “whatever fits best,” we will no doubt continue to fall victim to the same antiquated bigotry and intolerance that continues to plague our society for decades on end.

– Joe Ascanio, OneWhiteDuck.com