Why did the chicken cross the road? In Chicago, it was to get to Logan Square. Mayor Rahm Emmanuel and Alderman "Joe" Moreno are turning the area into the city's first chicken sanctuary. In case you spent last week on the dark side of the moon, let me explain: Chicago's rulers are resisting Chick-fil-A's plans for a new restaurant due to its corporate opposition to homosexual marriage.
Moreno vowed to keep Chick-fil-A out of his district. Emmanuel was a bit more reserved, content to say the company doesn't measure up to "Chicago values." Now, let's remember that Rahm is trumpeting the values of the nation's most corrupt political city. How can Chick-fil-A reflect "Chicago values", provide free sandwiches to every Chicagoan who rises from the grave on Election Day?
All kidding aside, Emmanuel and Moreno are perfect examples of what's wrong with the political culture. Good government doesn't force businesses to check corporate beliefs at the city limits. Their attitude should serve as a warning to all businesses; if you want access to Chicago's marketplace you must adopt approved positions on social issues. It sounds like bullying because it is bullying, and the politicians practicing it are unworthy of the public trust.
Let's get one thing straight; Chick-fil-A is discriminating against no one. The company serves and hires both heterosexuals and homosexuals. Emmanuel and Moreno are the true bigots. Their opposition to Chick-fil-A isn't based on anything but the company leadership's personal beliefs, beliefs that electoral results suggest are mainstream.
Suppose another city adopted Chicago's policy in reverse, refusing to allow companies that support homosexual marriage -- like Nike, Levi's, and Microsoft -- to conduct business in their municipalities? Would Emmanuel and Moreno support that decision? Please! They'd be tripping over each other in a mad rush to condemn that city's abuse of government power.
Emmanuel says Chick-fil-A's proposed restaurant would be a "bad investment" because "it would be empty." If he really believed his rhetoric he would put Chick-fil-A's building permits on the fast track. Politicians love being right, and Emmanuel would look like a prophet if Chick-fil-A was forced to close the restaurant due to a dearth of customers. Of course, as much as politicians love being right they fear being wrong even more. And evidence suggests that Emmanuel doesn't know what he's talking about.
2011 was the 44th consecutive year Chick-fil-A's sales increased, reaching $4.1 billion and marking a 13-percent rise over 2010. The company operates more than 1600 stores and will open another 77 during 2012. Since Chick-fil-A restaurants aren't sitting empty elsewhere it's unlikely they'll sit empty in Chicago.
If Emmanuel and Moreno prefer political correctness to private enterprise, fine. There are plenty of places -- like the Chicago suburb of Lombard -- that would welcome Chick-fil-A with open arms. The company should take its restaurant plans, and resulting tax revenues, there. Besides, with leaders like Emmanuel and Moreno, Chicago has enough clucks.