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.”
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.
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.
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!