Monday, September 1, 2008

September 2008

Hi Poppets! It is truly a great thing when an article writes itself. I actually could’ve sent this in within 24 hours of submitting last month’s column – and almost did – so, if anything, I’m coming to this party a little late. Still, I decided not to bombard Richard and Betty with articles last month so I’m just asking this question now: Have you started eating at McDonald’s yet?

Odds are excellent that you know why I’m asking but for those of you who don’t, a quick summary. The American Family Association (AFA) has called for a boycott of McDonald’s because they have given monies to the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and now hold a seat on its board of directors. The AFA describes itself this way: a non-profit organization that “represents and stands for traditional family values, focusing primarily on the influence of television and other media – including pornography – on our society.” (citation –, permission granted under copyright) They have this to say about the boycott: “the boycott is not about hiring homosexuals; it is not about homosexuals eating at McDonald’s; it is not about how homosexual employees are treated. … It is about McDonald’s as a corporation, refusing to remain neutral in the culture wars. McDonald's has chosen not to remain neutral but to give the full weight of their corporation to promoting the homosexual agenda, including homosexual marriage.” (citation -, permission granted under copyright)

It sounds pretty reasonable. While I respect corporations that take a stand on political issues, I don’t disrespect corporations that remain neutral. Remaining neutral and maintaining the status quo is a perfectly legitimate corporate response. After all, they aren’t in business to be political; they are in business to make money. That’s what corporations do. So what’s my issue?

The AFA states the boycott is solely about McDonald’s not remaining neutral. It’s not, according to them, about McDonald’s supporting the LGBT community. They just didn’t remain neutral.

Only when Exxon merged with Mobile and took away domestic partnership rights, that wasn’t remaining neutral. That was switching out the status quo. Yet there was no call from the AFA for an Exxon boycott. No outrage that Exxon hadn’t remained neutral, hadn’t maintained the status quo. Too vague for you? According to the AFA website, they “…also believe in commending those companies which act responsibly regarding the programs they support.” (citation –, permission granted under copyright) So…what happened to neutrality? Apparently, neutrality is in the eye of the beholder as far as the AFA is concerned.

Think this boycott has no teeth? Think that people won’t give up the convenience of their quarter pounders with cheese just for this? Think again. Some of the most effective boycotts in the country have been spear-headed by the AFA. They helped bring about changes in the corporate policies of Wal-Mart, 7-11 and Burger King. These aren’t little Mom and Pop places, holding on by a thread. When the AFA calls for action, they get results.

So let’s call for a little action ourselves. Let’s put our money where our mouths are, almost literally. Even if you dislike their food, McDonald’s sells coffee, sodas, tea and bottled water. They have salads that don’t completely suck. Vegetarian, vegan or health guru, there is still something you can buy at McDonald’s. If you want, follow that up with contacting McDonald’s directly. Let them know you support them, that you are intentionally giving them your money. But mostly, give them your money. Let the AFA boycott loudly. We can spend quietly. And if enough of us do, we’ll speak volumes.

Until next month, Poppets, take care of you.


Dennis R. Upkins said...

Looks like I'll be hitting that Dollar Menu.

CrackerLilo said...

Now they're doing it with Pepsi, too! I literally sent Indra Nooyi, the CEO, a nice snail mail letter with pictures of the inside of our fridge (Diet Pepsi and Gatorade abounds) and our recycling bins full of empties.