Don’t let chicken divide us

Last Tuesday was not a good day for me.

In between having a camera shoved up my nose for the better part of a half hour, I was arguing with my roommate, who is one of my closest friends on this campus.  The argument was about gay rights versus Chick-fil-A.

This was a new debate with the classic dichotomies:  liberal versus conservative and Democrat versus Republican.  It’s not like we hadn’t had serious discussions about politics before, and it’s not like we do not appreciate each other’s points of view, but this was decidedly different.  I’m still not sure if maybe it was the anesthetic, but my gut just told me that this argument was notable, maybe even bigger, than prior debates.

For those of you just tuning in, I’ll bring you up to speed: I tried to get Student Government to take a stand for gay rights by prohibiting the opening of a Chick-fil-A location on UM’s campus.  The Senate decided against taking this action for reasons that were without malice, if not slightly vain.

When I finally came home from the doctor, perhaps slightly less dazed, I heard three words that I seldom hear from my roommate in a serious tone, “I am sorry.” I was a bit taken aback and a bit pleased with myself, but I found myself unable to respond – an occurrence that is exceedingly rare.

Like many things in life, this did not last long. And in a greater testament of this fact, my roommate’s grandmother passed away that night. Still feeling alienated from my roommate, I didn’t know how to respond.  However, I did know what to do. I bought Chick-fil-A. I even bought food for myself because my friendship, my roommate-ship, is more important than a squabble over a chicken sandwich.

I’m not saying that Chick-fil-A shouldn’t change, because they should. I’m not even saying I wish I hadn’t written the bill. I just wish a chicken sandwich didn’t have to create a divide in our society, our university and certainly not in my own home.


Jared Payne is a junior majoring in international studies.