Campus engulfed in food politics

Campus engulfed in food politics

2 3
Jake Essman / The Arbiter

At Boise State the name “Chick-fil-A” can cause a host of different emotions in students from the pleasure they extract from its sandwiches, to disdain at its political
positions.

Chick-fil-A has caused controversy in recent months as they have donated upwards of $2 million dollars to anti-gay organizations such as Exodus International, and the Family Research Council (FRO), two famously anti-homosexual organizations.  By law, such donations are protected constitutionally, but one must wonder why companies feel the need to thrust themselves into a political spotlight?

According to a poll conducted by the New York Times in May of 2012, same-sex marriage supporters are now a majority in the United States. As Kraft found out, it is financially beneficial to take a stance on same-sex marriage. Kraft releaseed the multi-colored “Pride Cookie,” during gay pride week in San Francisco, which was largely  successful.

Through all this political noise, politics in restaurants has made students uneasy as it can often feel that every dollar spent may be headed in a direction they don’t agree with.

It seems this debacle of food-gone-political began with the popular fast-food burger joint, Carl’s Jr., in 1941, when the restaurant was founded.  From the early days, Carl’s Jr. thrust itself into political spotlights across the western United States, supporting right-wing candidates, anti-abortion policies, and later on, anti-gay organizations.

After Carl’s Jr. founder Carl Karcher’s death, one AP story quoted a former Carl’s Jr. employee speaking of Karcher saying, “He was reviled by abortion rights activists for his contributions to anti-abortion groups and his oft-repeated story about talking a Carl’s Jr. employee out of an abortion.”

Gay rights groups dubbed his hamburgers “bigot burgers” after Karcher supported a 1978 proposition that would have allowed school boards to fire teachers who were gay or advocated homosexuality.

Regardless of personal standing pertaining to these issues, actions like these leave one wondering why it is that every meal purchased has now become a statement of political association.

In the case of Chick-fil-A which was opened on campus two years ago, campus reaction has been diverse to say the very least.  Just a stone’s throw away on campus is Starbucks—another company that has thrown itself into the political game, but on the opposing side of companies like Chick-fil-A and Carl’s Jr.

Personal politics are just that, and companies are fully within their rights to have opinions and allocate donation funds as they please; this is not the issue.

The issue is that food is an essential component to human survival, and as more and more companies begin to align themselves on one side of the political spectrum or the other, it is slowly becoming a struggle to only purchase food in restaurants that agree with aligning political
viewpoints.