Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has so many problems to solve right now. A crime wave leaves hundreds of Americans dead and has turned our cities into war zones. A border crisis allows hundreds of thousands of illegals to enter our country. A domestic war on terror threatens basic civil liberties.
But none of these crises have persuaded Graham to go to war. No, the civilizational question that demands his full zeal has to do with . . . a fast-food chain.
The Republican senator promised this month to go to war for the sake of Chick-fil-A. The restaurant beloved by conservatives apparently is in mortal danger. Two—yes, just two—students at Notre Dame University called for the chicken sandwich joint to be banished from the campus. University officials denied their request.
This serious threat to the entire Chick-fil-A empire lit a fire within Lindsey Graham. “It’s disappointing to hear some [Notre Dame] students and faculty want to ban Chick-fil-A from doing business on campus because they disagree with the values held by the Chick-fil-A founders,” Graham tweeted. “What a dangerous precedent to set.”
He added: “I want everyone in South Carolina and across America to know I have Chick fil-A’s back. I hope we don’t have to, but I will go to war for the principles Chick fil-A stands for.”
Remember, this in response to two random students complaining about the chicken franchise on a college campus in Indiana. There is no need to go to war for Chick-fil-A. It’s not under any grave threat.
But Graham wasn’t the only Republican to pick up his sword and shield to defend the helpless fast-food chain. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) sent out fundraising texts about the danger posed to Chick-fil-A, telling recipients that its fate is endangered by the “socialist Left.” And the only way to support Chick-fil-A is to give money to Republicans!
The GOP never misses a good time to grift their own supporters, and this is a stellar example. It has all the marks of quintessential GOP “action”: there’s absolutely nothing at stake, and the GOP could do nothing about it even if there were.
Republican politicians understand that conservatives perceive the company to be one of the few institutions that share their values.
But the perception is no longer reality. Chick-fil-A may provide better food and better service than the average fast-food joint, but it’s not really “conservative” anymore. The reason why most liberals hate Chick-fil-A is that it donated to socially conservative groups that supported traditional marriage. But the restaurant’s charity arm has been cutting off these donations ever since 2012. In 2019, the charity arm announced it no longer donated to any political groups that favor traditional marriage. So this argument is no longer relevant.
It could be argued that Chick-fil-A’s changed position mirrors that of the GOP and the conservative movement generally. Pretty much no one talks about gay marriage anymore, nor do any prominent conservative figures call for its abolition. The times have changed and the fast-food restaurant has, too..
While that may be true, it quite doesn’t explain or justify Chick-fil-A’s support for the Black Lives Matter agenda. Shortly after George Floyd’s death in 2020, the company’s CEO Dan Cathy expressed support for the BLM “protests” that devastated dozens of American cities.
“They are tired, because no amount of kneeling or marching seems to truly address what has ailed our country for generations: A controverted view of race, which is sometimes overt and sometimes subtle but always destructive,” Cathy said in a statement. He called upon his fellow wealthy whites to use their “power and influence” for the benefit of “racial justice.” The company also issued a statement in support of BLM protests.
Cathy recommitted to BLM later on last year. He said white Christians must personally atone for their racism towards blacks and suggested they shine the shoes of their black friends to make amends. He did this himself on a Christian TV show, getting down on his knees and shining the shoes of a black rapper.
He also defended the rioters and looters. Several Chick-fil-A restaurants were damaged in the Floyd riots, but Cathy said “white Christians” shouldn’t blame the vandals. “My plea would be for the white people, rather than point fingers at that kind of criminal effort, would be to see the level of frustration and exasperation and almost a sense of hopelessness that exists among some of those activists within the African-American community [who] are so exasperated,” he said. He also agreed with the idea of “unconscious bias.”
Chick-fil-A also announced last summer that it would quadruple donations to black nonprofits that ostensibly combat “racial injustice.” These are the principles the company stands for now.
Nearly every corporation endorsed BLM, so Chick-fil-A is not an outlier. Republican politicians, however, are not pledging to fight to the death for Nike or Starbucks. They only do this for Chick-fil-A, a company that’s OK with BLM riots and whose CEO urges white Christians to shine the shoes of BLM activists.
No matter how much you like Chick-fil-A’s food or service, we don’t need our politicians to defend it from “cancel culture.” It’s part of the same culture at war against middle America. The company is just nicer about it.
Rather than defend a giant corporation that supports white guilt, it would be better if Republicans defended their own people. Hundreds of nonviolent Trump supporters remain locked up without bail simply because judges and prosecutors disagree with their political opinions. The Biden Administration is ordering Big Tech to censor users who share views contrary to the official narrative. The federal government wants to label as “terrorists” a wide array of groups simply for the opinions they hold. All of these matters are far more worthy of attention than Chick-fil-A.
Chick-fil-A can defend itself. It is a thriving corporation worth billions. The ordinary Trump supporter can’t. He needs his party to wake up and go to war over issues that matter. Peddling chicken sandwiches at Notre Dame University is not one of them.