5. Prioritizing social issues while ignoring economic atrocities.Why is it that people on both sides of the gay marriage issue can get so up in arms, yet show almost no interest whatsoever in the [often illegal] foreclosure crisis, the unemployment crisis or the environmental crisis? On issue after issue that impacts the overall public to significant degrees, most folks are completely apathetic, yet bring up homosexuality or abortion and people rise from their slumber.
After President Obama publicly (and belatedly) endorsed the idea that LGBT people should have equal rights under our marriage laws, I wrote two columns — one arguing that it’s absurd for Republicans to say we can’t deal with social and economic issues at the same time; the other pointing out that America often prioritizes fights over social issues like gay marriage over battles about economic justice. Nothing exemplifies the latter point more than the Chick-fil-A hullaballoo.
Cathy’s bigoted comments were certainly awful — and it’s great that more Americans who support equality are going to “vote with their pocketbooks” by not spending money at Chick-fil-A. But at the very same time this controversy garnered 24/7 media attention, generated mass protests on both sides, and elicited responses from the nation’s top political leaders, another national fast food chain, Chipotle, was quietly refusing to sign a covenant dealing with basic human rights — a covenant so minimal that other major fast food companies have already signed on. Other than in Good magazine, this immoral decision was wholly ignored by the very media and political system promoting the Chick-fil-A spat.
The result is that many Americans swearing never to eat Chick-fil-A will replace the chicken sandwich with a Chipotle burrito — either not knowing or not caring what they are thus supporting.
~ from Five Lessons from Chick-fil-A by David Sirota ~
That's why I entitled today's miniseries, Outrage and Apathy. Too many Americans express outrage on matters that don't affect them personally, but they exhibit complete apathy for those matters that do.
All I can say is that this tendency is mind-boggling. It's a tendency I think that I will never understand.