Well, I finally did it. I physically live across the street from a Popeye's Louisiana Kitchen Restaurant. I saw the lines over the last few weeks. Nope! Not going to stand in line like I'm at Disneyland for a freakin' chicken sandwich. On Black Friday, my daughter and I walked across the street to go to a game store that we like to check on their specials. We saw that literally no one was in line at Popeye’s the time - about 11:15AM. I decided that I'd stop in if that was the case on the way back. Sure enough, there was only one person in line when we returned. True to my word, we went in.
Let me state here that I like Popeye's. We go there nearly every week on Tuesday, as they have very budget-friendly special options - remember how close they are. We've never been treated poorly, nor had a bad experience with any other customers. The lines are usually four or five deep on Tuesdays because of the specials. We talk to the other patrons. We represent every conceivable racial, socioeconomic, and lifestyle background. We talk about everything from sports and weather to recent political decisions and national on-goings. Never have I felt troubled by anyone's presence, nor did I ever get the impression that others were troubled by mine.
I also like Chic-fil-a. Like Popeye's, I've never felt out-of-sorts in a Chic-fil-a restaurant either. I do realize it's a Christian-owned restaurant, but I don't go for that reason: I go because I like their food. The fact that it's a Christian company is just a nice bonus in my mind. I don't frequent companies because they are, or because they aren't Christian, even though I am. I pick restaurants, and indeed all places of business I frequent, because I like their product and service. However this isn't about why I pick companies...
Back to my story. While inside, I joked about how I was deciding whether I should start a fight or not. The cashier laughed and said, "We already had that last night." We talked a little more, then we received our sandwiches, and my daughter and I left. We got home and began trying these sandwiches I had heard so much about. You know what? It was a chicken sandwich. It wasn't the greatest sandwich I've ever had, but neither is Chic-fil-a's chicken sandwich, so all the hubbub is not about the sandwich. This got me thinking: Why are we having such a problem?
What makes Popeye's different than Chic-fil-a? It's not the food. They both have good food. People who grew up with more spice in their foods, gravitate towards Popeye's. People who grew up with less cayenne in their food tend to like Chic-fil-a more. No, the difference is not in the food. It's not the fact that one is Christian and one isn't: In-N-Out Burger has been putting scripture references in hidden recesses of their food wrappers and cups for many years. They are one of the most beloved restaurant chains in California, which could be considered one of the most Christian-hostile states in the country. What makes this such a deal that people would fight for a freakin' chicken sandwich? You know what I think it is?
1. Our society has a propensity to label anyone who doesn't think the way we do as whatever the worst thing we could think of at the time (Nazi, Communist, evil, vile, etc...) We allow ourselves to get riled up over almost anything. In this case it's a chicken sandwich. Tomorrow it'll be something new. How does this happen?
2. Social media has taken all the governors off. For those who aren't aware, a governor (not the person) is something that is put in place to make sure the item it's governing - an engine, for example - doesn't get to the point where damage can happen. It keeps the systems involved limited to a certain capacity so catastrophic damage, which is a possibility, can't occur. Social media allows us to hide behind the safety of anonymity and distance. We begin to say things that we wouldn't dare say to someone's face for fear of starting a fight. The governors are off. How does it get this bad, though?
3. The media organizations are not there to deliver the news, nor are they there to provide insight through editorials. Both happen, but these are fed by the reason they're actually there; making money. The media news outlets and shows make money when ratings are high. Rating are high for the news organizations when there is conflict. This is why debates have 1 minute answering sessions - to create confusion in the public leading to conflict because the governors are no longer on, leading to more conflict. This is why the media always states the differences between people when reporting: A black man, instead of a man; a Trump or Obama administration official, instead of an official from the White House; a Democrat or a Republican, instead of a Congressperson. The press keeps us at each other's throats because they need to in order to sow more discord and keep their rating up.
Stop labeling each other. Stop calling people Nazis who clearly aren't. Stop calling people names that cause such anger because of past atrocities, that we can't see past our hatred. Maybe when we do this we'll be able to enjoy each other again. We need to stop having our chicken sandwiches with a side of fight. The only people who are benefiting from this are the people who are driving the wedge so they can report it. Play your games on Facebook. Build your business networks on LinkedIn. Stay up with friends on Twitter. Stop all the ugliness. I teach my kids that you all are worth knowing. I served in the military because I believed you were all worth the risk. Think on your own; stop listening to those who would divide us more. Use Facebook et al to catch up with friends and make new ones. Stop labeling people. Stop allowing yourselves to be labelled. Maybe, just maybe, if we do, we can all have a chicken sandwich and no police need to be called.