Swamped with politics in food, sports and Hollywood

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Swamped with politics in food, sports and Hollywood

Courtesy of UTEP

Courtesy of UTEP

Courtesy of UTEP

Luis Hinojos, Contributor

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Your mother may have told you not to talk about politics or religion in public. She was right. 

Recently, we have found ourselves surrounded by politics in food, sports and your favorite streaming platform. 

Yes, we should be educated on the political happenings in our country. No, we shouldn’t have to come face-to-face with a hairy political issue in the refuge of a restaurant, Monday Night Football or your guilty pleasure series.   

Politics has crawled its way into the kitchen of one of the biggest fast-food restaurants in the United States, Chick-fil-A. This all started in 2012 when, according to Jena McGregor of The Washington Post, the company’s founder, Dan Cathy, expressed support of traditional marriage. Now, airports and universities around the country are banning the restaurant to show their support of LGBTQ marriage rights.   

The problem that arises with this ban is that the consumer, not Chick-fil-A, is affected.   

As reported by The Wall Street Journal’s Micah Maidenberg, Chick-fil-A has doubled its locations since 2007. The “chicken giant” is not going anywhere, but hungry travelers and students must seek other alternatives. 

Needless to say, conflating personal views with company views is a recipe for disaster. Yet, what it all boils down to is that the choice to boycott Chick-fil-A should fall upon the individual.   

Banning fast-food restaurants from public spaces only spawns tit-for-tat political hostility where it should not be — right in the middle of two hamburger buns.   

As a consumer, it should be your choice as to whether you think Cathy’s values are worthy of boycott or not. Furthermore, our free market’s influence will show the clear will of the people. If the public does not want the restaurant in their school or airport, the loss in profits will drive the Chick-fil-A to close its doors.   

Politics lurks in what we eat and undoubtedly in what we watch. In the past few years, ESPN has experienced a loss of viewers. According to commentators, such as David Freddoso of The Washington Examiner, ESPN has dwindled due to a variety of reasons, including its incorporation of politics into its shows. Americans simply do not want to hear political opinions while watching their favorite team play.   

ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro agrees. In May, Pitaro related to The Los Angeles Times that data shows that their fans do not want politics on their TV. This is only natural. 

Historically, Americans have gathered in camaraderie to rally behind a team, setting aside the problems of the world. When politics sneaks its way past gate security and onto the field, the sport shrivels in its ability to bring out the best of friendly competition.   

In a similar fashion, the entertainment industry has delved into the issue of abortion. Three independent production companies have announced that they will cease to film in Georgia — one of the states that have passed a “heartbeat bill” to shorten the window for legal abortion.   

More prominently, Netflix shared a statement with The Washington Post saying that if the law goes into effect, it would “rethink (its) entire investment in Georgia.”   

The problem with Hollywood boycotting entire states for production is that, once again, it hurts the people, including the individuals and businesses that depend on the film industry, because of legislative action, while also influencing an extreme polarization that will forcibly push the country to the extremes, instead of finding an even-handed compromise.   

Airports and universities should empower the individual choice.   

As a country, we should look to the example of Pitaro. Further still, we should look to the example of Stacy Abrams, the Democrat who ran in the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial race. She has spoken against the Hollywood boycotts on Twitter saying that, “(She does) not believe it is the most effective, strategic choice for change.”   

Problems swarm around “the swamp.” It’s best to leave them there. Politics do not belong in every aspect of our lives.  

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