Relax, it’s just a sandwich

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Relax, it’s just a sandwich

James Barker, Editorials Columnist

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During this past summer, I noticed something that completely shocked me. The people of this country care too much about the stupid little things and not enough about what matters most. Many of these unfortunate occasions have only intensified intolerance to others’ ideas.  When a person spends so much time “shouting” their opinions on Facebook or in person, they shut down opportunities for conversation that might actually find some compromise or conclusion.

In late July, I received invitation after invitation on Facebook about joining events or groups to support or ban Chick-Fil-A. It all began when Chick-Fil-A owner, Dan Cathy, was asked by a reporter in an interview his beliefs on gay marriage. He told the reporter that he did not support gay marriage.

After Dan Cathy said that, the country went nuts. People everywhere were either completely against him or completely for him.

When asked about the subject, I said I was for neither side. The whole thing felt ridiculous.  I thought that way too much time and energy was spent on this topic, when there are so many other problems in the world like hunger, poverty, joblessness, that these people could give their time and money to help.

During this insane hullabaloo, I read an editorial in the Washington Post by Alexandra Petri. Her main slogan for her article was “judge the sandwich by the sandwich.” She was trying to show people that if they were so nit picky about what they consumed or bought, and only chose stuff that was created by people with the same views, then we would live the dullest lives ever.

The amount of time wasted  doing research about every single product we eat, wear, read, or use, and then trying to convince other people to do the same, would be a massive waste of time.

Here’s an example: In some Middle Eastern countries, from where the United States imports its oil, there are laws forbidding homosexuality, where breaking those laws frequently results in execution. So here’s a question for you: When you drive up to the local gas station, do you ask the service station attendant where the gasoline was imported from? And if he tells you the country and you learn it is one that kills homosexuals, do you drive away? Or just fill up your car?

Is it okay to support gay marriage or not to support it? Yes, of course it is. But should you shut down any opportunity for conversation about it, not listening to what other people have to say? This could go for any topic: healthcare, abortion, religion, or even taxes. On both sides of many issues, people are too angry about what they believe and don’t even bother to listen to what others have to say.

Around the same time of this Chick-Fil-A madness,  James Homes killed 12 and wounded 58 during The Dark Knight Rises premier.  A family friend of ours had a sister who was shot. She, amazingly, survived what her doctors thought was a fatal wound. I was part of a Facebook group that raised money to help pay for her medical expenses.  Even then, the Chick-Fil-A arguments continued, with more posts and comments than the Aurora shootings received.

It is absurd that this summer, people cared more about a chicken sandwich than for people who lost loved ones or now have physical or psychological injuries to live with for the rest of their lives because of the random violent act of one person.

I understand that many of you will never eat a Chick-Fil-A sandwich again, because you disagree with Mr. Cathy. That is your right. But let’s keep the dialog civil and set an example for the world that we can disagree, but not hate each other because we disagree. Let’s be grateful for the things we can agree on, and continue talking about the others.

It’s just a sandwich.

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