If one really wanted to, one could put a political spin on any product that we purchase on a daily basis. After all, these products don’t just spring up from great stalks in the ground–save for corn perhaps–but are bought and paid for from the coffers of countless corporations.
Despite what the public majority might wish to believe, these corporations are not faceless. Behind the seemingly clockwork machinations of these companies are myriads of men and women, each one with their own political, social and personal ideals that combine to create the ‘moral’ compass of a given company. Much of the time, the calculating decisions that drive a company’s hand lie firmly in a gray, ambiguous area where the general public can easily consume their products without much of a second thought.
I’m certain there’s some borderline sinister rationale behind my Old Navy clothing being made in Indonesia, but as long as Old Navy remains nothing but a logo and corny commercials in my mind, I can live with continuing to give them my business.
The problem is that this is not always one’s own decision. Sometimes, as is the case with Chick-Fil-A’s president Dan Cathy’s vehement opposition to gay marriage, a company takes such a staunch position that the consumer can no longer just idly consume. Chick-fil-A’s logo has taken on more meaning than just a symbol of capitalism: It has inherited the collective beliefs of the people behind the logo.
But this can be overlooked, right?
The higher-ups of many corporations don’t necessarily present themselves in the most attractive fashion (just look at Donald Trump), yet the same attention to their beliefs as a direct association to their company’s services isn’t paid. However, the difference comes in the way that this incident has become so polarizing, with no backing down from supporters or the opposition.
And when Mike Huckabee declared Aug. 1 “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” and was quickly supported by other Conservative figures like Rick Santorum and Sarah Palin, the veritable ‘line in the sand’ became unavoidably visible; a purchase of Chick-fil-A products said more about a person than just, “I’m hungry”.
At the heart of this, one might realize just how little control one actually has when it comes to politicizing things. This is because politics are a public concern–they are more or less the property of the masses to interpret as they see fit. Regardless as to one’s own political stance or whether or not one wishes to look at a product as what it actually is–an inanimate object–this is ultimately not the decision of a single person.
The products you own are becoming politicized, and you will forever be tied to the ideals of those who distribute them.
So while eating at a Chick-fil-A or consuming any other product does not mean that one necessarily agrees with every single one of the policies of its governing powers, one should realize that what your purchase ‘means’ is never really up to you.