by Leah Waldron
If Dan Cathy really believed in traditional marriage, donating to hate groups and the importance of free speech, why haven’t we heard it from the horse’s (or, if you will, chicken’s) mouth? In the last few months, every time the wind changed in the Chick-fil-A controversy, Cathy’s statement was given second-hand from another source (the Baptist Free Press; Mike Huckabee; the Chick-fil-A website), and not the man who started the controversy, himself. Am I missing something, or is Dan Cathy chicken? Or is Chick-fil-A management trying to keep Cathy under (chicken) wraps?
Chicken puns aside, I’m not the only one who feels this way. Chicago Alderman Joe Moreno showed his anger and frustration (and even capitalized a few choice words) in an online letter to Cathy:
“Dan Cathy decided to make a PUBLIC statement to Mike Huckabee that, at the least, muddied the progress we had made with Chick-fil-A and, at the worst, contradicted the documents and promises Chick-fil-A made to me and the community earlier this month. Since Mr. Cathy made a PUBLIC statement, I am PUBLICLY asking him to confirm and support what I was told and shown by his company representatives.
Since Moreno’s plea, Cathy has yet to go on the public record, but his tone in last week’s statement (via Mike Huckabee and on Chick-fil-A’s website), as well as his original “guilty as charged” line in the July 16 “Baptist Press” interview, convey an entirely different attitude. This doesn’t sound like a shy man who won’t give a press conference, but a Clint Eastwood-style maverick:
“There continues to be erroneous implications in the media that Chick-fil-A changed our practices and priorities in order to obtain permission for a new restaurant in Chicago. That is incorrect. Chick-fil-A made no such concessions, and we remain true to who we are and who we have been.”
Cathy loves three-word answers, as evidenced by the “that is incorrect” sentence above. These three little words sound a lot like “guilty as charged.”
It’s too bad that Cathy wasn’t the one who actually “said” it.
Hiding behind a website, a small Baptist magazine with only a few thousand subscribers, or a Republican governor (too bad he lost 100 pounds; there’d be more room to hide) is a cowardly response to an issue as far-reaching as gay civil rights in America.
Even on Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, the Aug. 1 “buycott” organized by Huckabee, Dan Cathy was not seen or heard throughout the press-filled event. Cathy was also quiet when, a few days later, his chief spokesman died of a heart attack. A marketing exec said a few kind words in a press statement, but nothing from the actual man who started the largest fast food war in the history of America.
What a strange coincidence that, as hundreds of thousands of people came out to Chick-fil-A on Aug. 1 to support “free speech,” the man who started the fight can’t say a word.
Maybe it’s time the press started knocking on Cathy’s door, and not Mike Huckabee’s. Otherwise, we may be starting down a really weird road. Will New Jersey governor Chris Christie become the new spokesperson for the anti-gay rights debate at Exxon-Mobile? (Actually, I could see that happening).
So Dan Cathy, I reiterate Joe Moreno’s statement that you should PUBLICLY come forward (to use Moreno’s emphasis). As Kate McKinnon said on “Saturday Night Live” this weekend (while doing an amazing impersonation of Ann Romney): “It’s time to nut up or shut up.”
Collecting My Thoughts