For A Change, I Choose Not To Choose

I should let you know I love me some Chick-Fil-A when I do have both the money and mindset to grab a fast-food meal.  I was first introduced to them when I worked for Turner and when I’d visit their headquarters at CNN Center–the building they vacated for good earlier this week–the locals would revel in getting this city boy indoctrinated into what they grew up with.  They are conveniently located to where I live and occasionally they offer deals I can’t refuse, and their grilled nuggets are perhaps the healthiest and tastiest indulgence available from any drive-thru.  My only frustration with them is that they’re closed on Sundays, for well-documented reasons going back to the founding family’s deep support of the church and the era of blue laws.

So the fact that some of their more ardent supporters are now dragging them into yet another culture war because they dared to call public attention to a recent executive hire of a diversity and inclusion officer–who happens to be black–and is now prompting progressive columnists like LZ Granderson–also black, and openly gay–to write the likes of this this morning isn’t going to change where and how I eat:

If I were in charge of a large U.S. company right now, I would gather the other leaders in a room, pour each a beverage of their choosing and together listen to the series of questions posed by Kendrick Lamar and Rihanna in the song “Loyalty.” 

Tell me who you loyal to
Do it start with your woman or your man?
Do it end with your family and friends?
Or you’re loyal to yourself in advance?

I said, tell me who you loyal to

That’s right, corporate America: You’re going to have to tell us who you’re loyal to.

Actually, Mr. Granderson, I don’t.  And the fact you are so insistent that those of us who are far less vocal about how we choose to live our lives and spend what little money we have makes people such as yourself as abhorrent to me as those on the other extreme, the Steve Bannons, Charlie Kirks, Lance Wallnaus and Ben Shapiros who empower many of the viewpoints that are supposedly prophetic ordainings, and may Jesus smite anyone who dares to think otherwise.  Yes, those who empower and embrace the likes of a certain Georgia congresswoman who openly carried on an affair with a tantric sex guru while she worked as a fitness instructor with clients I personally knew that would hear her rant about the loveless marriage she was in.  Ladies and gentlemen, Christian nationalism at its finest.

Just as foolhardy as the marketing gurus with personal agendas that once held six-figure jobs at Target and Anheuser-Busch.  Who thought it was in their job description to aggressively pursue a statistically smaller market sector with provocative, dog-whistling campaigns.  Having spent decades in actual corporate culture, it’s far more likely their job description probably contained something to the effect of maximizing reach and impact of a brand, not segmenting it and choosing to ignore the potential downside carefully and objectively.   Good riddance to those who paid with their jobs.

My Trump and FOX News-embracing roommate consistently trolls me about what he sees as the inanity of the current leaders of the free world, an octagenarian with a balance problem who actually spoke from the Oval Office to take a victory lap about saving us from the edge of fiscal disaster, and a tone-deaf triple-check mark second-in-command whose most recent Friday night victory lap was to take in a WNBA basketball game where Brittany Griner returned to action, while the white male who was serving time in the same Russian prison she did continues to linger there in the same horrid conditions we all were urged to care so deeply about when it was someone with Griner’s diversity tickmarks was incarcerated.  Why this person, well known for her own extramarital dalliances while rising through political ranks in Northern California. isn’t more focused on “finishing the job”, as her doddering, deal-making boss–the same one who didn’t raise the minimum wage but yet found the money to give a company that donated millions to re-elect Joe Manchin–is pleading with us to allow him to do, is beyond me.

And yet, this Ivy League-educated and well-heeled, otherwise decent person incessently watches channels where opinions are regularly spewed by elderly misoygnists and revere a bully pulpit wannabe leader who seems to think he’s in the peak of health and a “stable genius” while being incapable of correctly spelling the word “milquetoast”.  Which, I suppose, I could be defined as, if only they had actually knew the meaning of the word before I had to share it with them.

Last night, to try and escape some of this for at least a few hours I found a couple of spare bucks to yet again see a ballgame myself, largely because an overwhelming number of former friends think I’m insane for setting foot in a ballpark without a mask.  Yes, I’m a Mets fan, but I also grew up at a time when the Yankees were winning world championships in a remodeled stadium while the Mets were losing 99 games in a increasingly decrepit park built on a swamp.  And my dad grew up a Brooklyn Dodgers fan.  This is how I dressed for the game last night.

Go ahead, mock me.

The only time I really care about what you think of my choices, or I choose to care about yours, is when they actually, personally impact ME.  When diversity and inclusion policies and those who champion them for  are financially incentivized by governments like those in charge at the moment to hire less qualified people for jobs my experience and track record scream that I should be a choice, and when the silence of those who occasionally grant me an interview absolutely shrieks at the real reason I sit here, 39 months since my last corporate gig of consequence, still seeking gainful employent, then I care.

And yet, I’m still willing to wait in line for grilled nuggets.  And even top it off with a side of mac and cheese or chicken noodle soup on occasion.

I’ve taken a lot of grief for the choices I’ve made, and I’ve paid dearly for having them.  When you survive what I have, both physically and fiscally, emotionally and spiritually, you reach a point where you simply cannot gain any comfort in compromise.  At least, that’s how I feel most of them time.  You may have different thresholds and priorities.  Lucky you if that’s the case.

But when it’s this overwhelming a climate, I just as feverishly believe it’s not only my right, but my necessity, not to make any choice.  I like Jesus and Judaism.  I like chocolate and vanilla.  I like Target and Chick-Fil-A.  I like Pride Month and I like family values.  I like some creatives and I like some corporate executives.  I love people who’ve earned money doing things many would believe they should go to hell for.  When I look back on some of the networks and shows I’ve worked on, I sometimes wonder if I might not wind up there myself, not that the last 39 months hasn’t be a taste of it.

I loathe anyone who thinks I have to make a choice because they think I have to.

So I’m going to choose to ignore the likes of  LZ Granderson in the same manner I ignore the likes of Steve Bannon.  And as far as who I choose to endorse in the next election, that’s between me and my G-d.  Whichever one appeals more to me at the moment.

Deal with it.

Until next time…

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