Food is complicated. America is complicated. Everything is complicated. There is no doubt about that. I have to co-parent with a man who is different politically and theologically than me. There have been several rather heated discussions about gender roles and how to fix the government. My views are usually "not quite right", which is a passive way of stating I'm wrong.
I am always expecting one of my children to come ask me to explain some overtly complicated apologetic/libertarian/dark ages logic. It has happened before and will probably happen again. Sometimes I forget the civility we are suppose to have for each other and call such things what they really are: ignorance and bigotry. But once in a while my patience is rewarded with the witnessing of one of his eureka moments...
Recently, my children's father has felt a call to arms in defense of something he holds dear. His family you ask...no. His honor perhaps...no. Must be his faith...again, no. Ban on uranium mining? Stopping political corruption? Rescuing kittens from trees? Nope. He has been riled about, wait for it... fried chicken sandwiches. Yes, he became embroiled in the recent controversy caused by a certain restaurant owner's statements against gay marriage. Actually this restaurant owner has been shown to financially support 'alleged' hate groups. There was an unofficially appreciation day planned for people to travel a pilgrimage in their cars to this fast food mecca. I had a very , you guessed it, complicated view on the subject.
The owner can say what he wants. And I can disagree with him. People will support him, and other have the right to boycott him. I did not eat there enough to really say I was ever a supporter , but I will not eat there anymore. On a personal level, and as a Christian, I actually like to look to the example of who I put my faith in which is Christ. He hung out with homosexuals. He healed the sick and feed the hungry. Basically, I would argue he was a gay-loving socialist. I don't look to the bits and pieces of the Old Testament that people fling around to approve of their hate. If we are to get technical about it, the same biblical chapter also states men shouldn't cut their hair, unmarried non-virgins should be stoned to death, and God hates shrimp. (No, really all crustaceans.) The bigger point is this: we do not live in a theocracy. There is separation of church and state, and it should be that way. Religion has been used as a means of oppression by those in power more than once. Everyone should have the right to marry if they wish....and later fight over the silverware in their divorce settlement if they want. And no one, I mean no one should ever be persecuted for their sexuality.
So returning to that day, I could not stop him from going to show his appreciation. We're separated and he is an adult. I had washed my hands of the subject with him and told him to enjoy. Then I was hit with the notice he was taking our children with him. Oh, um, excuse me? And thus began the negotiations for the next hour. He simply was not going to see things my way. He was convinced this man and his business was being attacked and singled out. I wouldn't budge either because this was just too much. Finally, we agreed to go to the food court in the mall that had the restaurants' kiosk. I was going to keep an eye on the situation. The children and myself could eat something else while he showed appreciation over waffle fries. We drove to the mall.
On the way there, we passed by the restaurant with a triple drive-thru line circling the building. I thought it shameful. Where were all these people when the homeless shelter needs volunteers? What about the money going to Feed the Children or the Red Cross? Why weren't they coming out in droves to their local council meetings? However, I knew these were not the charitable types. No, these were more eugenics types and self-righteous people than those who wished to serve in this crowd. We finally arrived at the food court. All the stands were empty except for our chicken friend. My kids and I had hibachi, and their dad went to wait in line. After about fifteen minutes, we were getting settled and sitting down to eat our food. He was still in the long line. We were halfway through dinner when he came to sit with us. Empty handed.
I was very puzzled by this. With the speech and the rally and protecting of values , I had expected a bit more. He sat quiet and apparently angry. The children had finished and asked to play at the indoor playground we were sitting near. After they ran along, I turned and he finally spoke. He had went and waited in line. It was very long, and not to be obvious, very white. He stuck out quite easily since he is brown and Filipino. One of the cashiers working was African American. Things were moving slowly because there was a lot of people. Two guys standing next to him began to complain. He then said he heard on of the older women who was getting her food said she was glad that they hated gays. Then the guy started complaining again and dropped a racial slur about the woman behind the counter. My children's father responded that everyone was waiting and there was no need to be rude or racist. The response was the guy knocking into him on his way out from the counter. Then someone else cut him in line. He couldn't believe how ugly these people were being...and they were dressed 'so nice' (his words not mine). He became disgusted and just sat down.
I sipped my tea so I could collect my thoughts. There was a certain amount of gloating I wanted to do here but it would be petty. He had just learned something tragic and should be treated as thus. I told him I was sorry that they were so ugly but added that he had come out under misguided and even deceitful pretense. No one is getting fed to lions. People of faith are not being stripped of their rights. The hard cold truth is the people standing in front of that counter across from the indoor planting boxes were not hear to protect their beliefs. I'm sure not all but most were here to fuel their hate. And that hate was not merely directed at the LBGT community but minorities and immigrants and women's rights and progressives and Marxists and Muslims.....Anyone who did not adhere to their systematic dogma. He finally realized how complicated this really was. It wasn't just about lemonade and chicken biscuits. So, he got up and asked if I wanted anything else. He was going to the hibachi place. I realized then that I had just been witness to someone's great awakening.