Saying Yes

It’s 11:00 PM, and my blood boils.

“It’s just so stupid!” I hiss into my cell phone.

“Thomas, it’s not like they’re anti-gay themselves just because they’re selling food from Chick-fil-A,” she says.

I feel a poison settle in my soul, and a weight that won’t lift for the remainder of the night. I want to do something, anything that will appease my moral appetite – anything that I think will set right what is so horribly wrong.

“Obviously they’re not anti-gay,” I say,” but they’re knowingly endorsing a chain that is! Everyone knows about Chick-fil-A, and they clearly had other options – they just wanted to sell what would profit the most, even if it meant giving money to the people who are against me.”

“I guess…” she replies, parrying my purge of emotions.

It’s times like these when I am grateful for my friends – for people who will listen to me even when I am blinded by what I believe in.

“I don’t know,” I say, the density of my frustration draining away,” maybe I’ll write a blog post about it.”

Ah, yes, Twitter. Rarely do I rant about really personal things on it, but, I suppose I slipped up on this occasion.

The above conversation took place between me and a close friend yesterday. I had read an email that an organization at my school would be selling sandwiches from Chick-fil-A, and immediately wanted to scream at someone or collapse into a crying fit. I felt betrayed – certain people* in that club knew of my homosexuality, yet they decided to sell products from that dreaded place anyway? Even if they aren’t anti-gay, how could they have been so insensitive that they would directly advertise a company that has already garnered myriad attention from the media? Don’t they know that by selling food from Chick-fil-A at a public place, they’re desensitizing people to how wrong it is?

Last night, I felt helpless. Like I couldn’t do anything at all besides rant to my close friends about how stupid the whole situation was. I knew that I wasn’t making a difference, but I just didn’t know what to do. I started writing a blog post, but scrapped it entirely – it was an incoherent mess, a menagerie of hurt and hatred.

And when I was writing that putrid post, I realized something. Something that I learned at a summer program in July, but something that I had forgotten about.

I fought hate with hate. I focused on the negatives. I castigated others’ actions, thinking “homophobia is so wrong!” and “how could a group I had respected so much resort to something like this?” I had covered my vision with cruelty and opposition, instead of compassion and understanding.

What I could have done, when I felt like I could have done nothing at all, was simple. I could have said yes. I could have said yes to love and human rights and acceptance, as opposed to saying no to ignorance and inaction and insufficient choices. I could have said yes and supported a solid group of pro-gay companies, but I focused on facing a single shallow one.

Even though I don’t drink coffee, my mom does – which is slightly fun and very ironic, because she abhors gay people. Image via diet-blog.com.

This is one of my new goals. Every time I read or hear something upsetting about child abuse or homosexuality, I won’t lose myself in the darkness of “no” and minor details. I’ll force myself to fight for the greater cause, and prove a positive point instead of only refuting negative ones. I’ll see the light and do my best to keep it alive.  Even psychologists and scientific studies show the strength of yes.

In the end, you cannot promote peace with no. You cannot push an idea forward or give power to a cause with no. You cannot love and let others love freely with no.

You can only do what with yes.

The fact that both Google and Amazon support homosexuality, as well as Apple and other thriving technology companies, gives me hope. Image via im.tech2.in.com.

Thoughts? Have you ever found yourself entrenched in “no” and the negative details of a social issue, or in any situation in general?

*I ended up talking to these people about how I felt, and told them that I wouldn’t be re-joining the club. I just can’t support an organization that has acquired money through endorsing a prominent anti-gay establishment. I’m sure they will do wonders for the community though!

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13 Comments

Filed under Personal

13 responses to “Saying Yes

  1. I don’t think that I have experienced remotely similar before, but the things you’ve learned and applied from your studies of psychology (or was it sociology?) I think everyone should learn as well. Give yourself a pat on the shoulder for coming to this sensible conclusion. Mind if I re-blog this?

  2. Pingback: My newfound love: Starbucks Coffee | Hot chocolate and books

  3. owihefkjl

    http://memegenerator.net/instance/24007141

    I don’t know why people get so fired up about Chick-Fil-A. I honestly think you’ve got the wrong mentality, Thomas.

    • Well, owihefkjl, the main reason I’m so “fired up” about Chick-Fil-A is because the company went so far as to create a day to celebrate itself due to the anti-gay publicity it has been attaining. It has become a symbol in the media almost everyone is aware of how they give money to groups that actively campaign against gays. When people go to eat there they are essentially ignoring the fact that this money is being given to these anti-gay groups and are turning a blind eye to the struggles they undergo simply because they want food.

      I find that meme to be a huge fallacy, because OPEC and Chick-fil-A are completely different. Even Walmart, which isn’t supportive of gays. There are not many alternatives to OPEC and Walmart (at least, cheap alternatives) and it’s not like they’ve had huge controversy over their stance against homosexuality. Chick-fil-A has had huge media coverage and yet people still decide to eat there and give them money, even when there are myriad other places that sell chicken.

      That’s what upsets me, and why I think my mindset is perfectly correct. Thank you for reading and commenting though!

  4. owihefkjl

    When people go to fill up their gas tanks, they are essentially ignoring the fact that this money is being given to people who actually have killed homosexuals and are turning a blind eye to the struggles they undergo simply because they want to drive.

    OPEC and Chick-fil-A are obviously different but if you look at the bigger picture they aren’t too far apart from each other. So what if it hasn’t had media coverage? Why should media coverage have anything to do with what YOU think. YOU know that a portion of the money (which is incredibly large in total) the United States spends on gasoline will go to people who do more than just deny gays of their rights. YOU, even though you are completely aware of OPEC and Walmart, aren’t attempting save gas/ buy elsewhere for this reason, yet you almost religiously reject purchasing anything from chick-fil-a or doing anything associated to chick-fil-a. Controversies and media coverage rather than the core beliefs and actions set these things apart? This is what I mean by you have the wrong mindset.

    Yes, unfortunately people still decide to eat there and give them money because it simply tastes good. Sure chicken is sold everywhere, but chick-fil-a is it’s own taste. It’s just like how you drive a car instead of riding a bike for convenience. Or shop at Walmart instead of target sometimes.

    It also sounds both ludicrous and ignorant of you that the main reason you’re fired up about Chick-fil-A is because “the company went so far as to create a day to celebrate itself due to the anti-gay publicity it has been attaining”… when Mike Huckabee was the one responsible for really an appreciation day for Chick-fil-A BECAUSE it was receiving a lot of hate to EXTREME levels.

    • Okay… no. I still find the gas/Walmart comparison completely unsophisticated and lacking in logical merit. There are a ton of restaurants out there that sell chicken and other food items at similar or cheaper prices as Chick-fil-A. Eating food that has a particular taste is not a huge demand. However, using gas to get to work or move your family around or just to travel in general is much more strenuous – to find another source of gas would require much more effort. Walmart, because its prices are fundamentally competitive, and despite the competition it has, it is still a large corporation that people need to go to to save money for their family. There are MANY alternatives to Chick-fil-A, and a taste preference does not take precedent over transportation or buying goods one needs to survive.

      As for your fourth paragraph, the main reason I’m fired up includes what you quoted as well as the rest of what I wrote in my comment. In the scenario that I wrote about in my post, the people at my school had many options to choose from. However, they still chose Chick-fil-A, even when it had just garnered major anti-gay attention in the media. It is not the fact that they had the day that really gets me upset (though it still upsets me), it’s how people have supported it even when they (as in the people, not Chick-fil-A) support gays, right after the media made it clear that Chick-fil-A does not support gays.

      In the end, I am still disappointed that anyone or any company would give money to groups that are campaigning against homosexuality. But, as I said in my posts, there are sometimes in which saying no to a group (or not buying gas from OPEC, not buying stuff from Walmart), will have no effect and may even serve as a detriment to those trying to fight for gays. And I’m not atrociously angry at the people at my school – I’m not really angry at them at all – I’m just disappointed that they chose Chick-fil-A when they had other options. Options that were easy to attain and still sufficient.

  5. owihefkjl

    Eating food that has a particular taste not a huge demand? There are many, many people who specifically go to restaurants such as Chipotle, McDonalds, etc because of their particular tastes and would not go else where. Same with Chick-fil-a. Sure, cars are necessary at times, but how strenuous is waking up a few minutes earlier to walk to school, or anywhere else within walking distance. Not really as strenuous as you make it seem… or would your forsake what you are passionate about for a few minutes of time? Walmart is the only option for low prices? Target? Costco? You’re really just putting these things aside as you exaggerate the necessity of walmart and gas… Yes these examples will sound “completely unsophisticated and lacking in logical merit” to anyone who will immediately reject anything that questions his or her logic. You very myopically one-sided.

    As for your response to my fourth paragraph, you haven’t responded to how uninformed you were about chick-fil-a’s appreciation day. And you still hold that opinion i guess? o_o You stubbornly disagree, but it’s almost like you’re forcing yourself to disagree as you exaggerate and confidently make claims as if they were facts to substantiate your opinions.

    What I’m really trying to get at is that I agree with your semi pessimistic/apathetic attitude. You honestly won’t do much from saving gas or shopping anywhere besides Walmart. Likewise, you honestly won’t do much from refusing to buy from Chick-fil-A–hell, I don’t think money is an issue for a company that closes on sundays. Furthermore, it could even be a detriment to those fighting for gays, or even gays themselves as chick-fil-a does have gay employees (who are treated very equally). That’s why it seems somewhat silly for you to be so against chick-fil-a. Sure, you can be upset at your friends, but why? Because they share the same pessimism/apathy you have for OPEC and Walmart? Deciding to give up chick-fil-a will not change anything. Why would anyone fruitlessly give up something they enjoy eating? The media got to you and made you feel unnecessarily defensive.

  6. Hm, while I don’t like how you imply that I myself am one of those “who will immediately reject anything that questions his or her logic” and that I’m “myopically one-sided”, you do have the right to discuss and debate. I disagree once again about gas. If you have to go to work and you have to drive half an hour, that could result in an hour or even more (probably more) walking. It’s impractical, especially for those who live far from their schools, or those who have jobs that are far away, and for those who don’t have good sidewalks to walk on to have to walk to school or work. And if it’s precipitating it would be safer to be in a car (or if snow has completely covered side walks or other paths).

    Also, I am not “forcing [myself] to disagree as [I] exaggerate and confidently make claims”. If I didn’t disagree, I wouldn’t waste time discussing this with you (unless it was to say that I agreed, in which case, that’s exactly what I would have said.) You said (notice how I’m not calling you ignorant or one-sided) that Chick-fil-A had their appreciation day “because it was receiving a lot of hate to extreme levels.” Okay, sure. But when Starbucks first started supporting gays, it’s not like they threw a Starbucks Appreciation day just because people who didn’t support gays refused to purchase their goods. Furthermore, people have the right to express their opinions about a corporation/restaurant – if a bunch of people are angry at Chick-fil-A, they have the right to be. Just because they aren’t expressing their anger at every chain that isn’t supportive of gays doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t express their anger with Chick-fil-A.

    And that’s not even my main point. In my post, I clearly said that I talked to my friend about how I won’t be rejoining her club and that we settled the issue. I’m not angry at her. I’m merely disappointed because in that one scenario she and the board of her club had many other options to choose from that would’ve sold equally as well.

    As for what you specifically said about me, I don’t shop at Walmart. I’m pretty sure I never said that I did. I’m saying that while it’s 100% handy-dandy that people who support gays shop there, their reasons are more justified than if they shopped there as opposed to getting something to eat at Chick-fil-A. Same thing with gas. I can’t drive yet, so I don’t buy my own gas, but for my dad who has to drive to his office 30-45 minutes away, I’m not going to tell him to walk for 2 hours just because I’m gay.

    I’m not saying that I hate every employee at Chick-fil-A, or their food or anything. I just dislike how money that people are paying the company will go to groups that actively campaign against gays. If me or any of my friends purposely decide not to eat there or shop at Walmart, that’s our choice. If someone purposely decides to eat at Chick-fil-A because they give money to anti-gay groups but still shops at Walmart, at least they’re taking a small step as opposed to doing absolutely nothing. I’m not saying it’s perfectly justified, but it’s definitely not hypocritical, and it’s better than just ignoring the issue.

    Despite all of this, I still cling to my original post’s message that it’s better to give money to groups that support gays as opposed to trying to take money away from those who are against it. Woo love!

  7. owihefkjl

    Like I said, sure cars are necessary at times. And when I brought up the example of walking to school I didn’t mean for you to be all smart aleck with me and give me situational instances when cars are necessary (as I’ve already mentioned). What I really meant, though I hoped you would comprehend the analogy I was trying to make, was that there are obvious times when driving is not necessary to get to certain destinations. And this is what I mean by YOU EXAGGERATE. You failed to even recognize short walking distance car drives and call things impractical as you only list the impractical situations.

    Your Starbucks example is somewhat faulty because hate levels are incomparable. Starbucks, by supporting gay marriage, did not receive anywhere close to the amount of hate Chick-fil-a got (Boston incident, for example). Moreover, Starbucks did NOT become an anomaly by supporting gays, especially in modern society. The example was a bit of a stretch. FURTHERMORE, suppose they were even great comparisons… MIKE HUCKABEE started the appreciation day for Chick-fil-A, and the company merely complied. It was fortunate for them that another person involved. Acts of kindness don’t happen to everyone with similar situations.

    The way you describe your feelings toward chick-fil-a/its buyers in your responses is very different from the emotions you depicted in your post…how you felt betrayed, how you wanted to scream, how you wrote that menagerie of hurt and hatred. THAT is what I initially responded to. Was that an exaggeration? Because now you’re just “disappointed”. Yes you did learn to respond to the hate and I believe that is your main point? But you are still upset toward the issue and that has changed throughout your responses.

    “Just because they aren’t expressing their anger at every chain that isn’t supportive of gays doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t express their anger with Chick-fil-A” Yes you are right in that sense. You could express your anger with Chick-fil-A. Pretty much anyone could express any emotion whether it be contradictory or illogical. I simply responded to point out the contradiction.

    Lastly, I apologize for assuming that you shop at Walmart. It’s just that I couldn’t help but to assume since you were writing about how necessary Walmart is… You should re-read your posts and maybe you will notice how biased and unyielding your descriptions are.

    • Just because I didn’t say explicitly that there are situations in which people can walk doesn’t mean I’m not recognizing them… of course there are situations in which people can walk to school. I never said that there weren’t.

      I see what you’re saying about Starbucks. I guess it is logical that Chick-fil-A would be more antagonized, because then again they are antagonizing a large group of people (gays, and people who support gays.)

      I was not exaggerating in my original post. In that scenario, at that time, I did truly feel angry and emotional. However, since then, I’ve calmed down as I talked to my friend who is in charge of the Key Club and taken other actions as well. Just because I am upset/disappointed that Chick-fil-A gives money to anti-gay groups does not mean that I am fighting hate with hate. I don’t hate anyone who works at Chick-fil-A and I don’t hate the people who buy food from there. I just wish that the company wouldn’t give some of the money they earn to anti-gay groups.

      I am hurt that you find my posts biased and unyielding. But I want to improve, so could you please give me specific examples in my other posts in which you dislike my writing/thoughts, and give me some constructive criticism? I would really appreciate it.

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