I know, I know. For the past few weeks it’s RFRA this, human rights that. But I’m not here today to argue about whether the RFRA functions properly as a backdoor allowing prejudice in a society that is trying to move past such a thing. Okay? I’m not here to talk about that. Never mind that, you know, it’s the 21st century, and we still have people in this country who think it’s vastly more important that they not have their feelings hurt by having to think about what goes on behind the closed doors of other people than to look out for the actual human rights of vast swathes of society… okay, god, it hurts to be so vague. Specifically the people behind RFRA, and in fact, behind the pizzeria I’m talking about here, feel really icky about homosexuals. To be more specific, they don’t feel that people that don’t like homosexuals (and, you know, whoever else they decide to hate that day) should be allowed to order cakes for weddings, or have a slice of pizza, or, god, I dunno, use the same water fountains as the rest of us.
But ahhh, there I go, talking about the issue I didn’t come here to talk about. Hate gay people if you want. In some states, it’s even going to be legal soon!
No, I’m here to talk about all the sweet, sweet green that’s out there waiting for you if you’re savvy enough to hop on the train early.
See, Memories Pizza is a trendsetter. They’ve shown us that you don’t have to work really hard, or even offer a good product, to make money… all you have to do is uphold a controversial point of view, get “persecuted” for it, and then complain to people — usually religious people, but I suspect it would work with other groups — and wait for the donations to roll in.
Because what’s important to people in this day and age are causes, not individuals.
Let’s say I have $20 that I don’t particularly need for myself. I know this is a stretch for most of us, but just work with the hypothetical. I don’t need this $20, and I want to use it to make a difference. I could take the money down to a homeless shelter and donate it directly, or maybe I go to the thrift store and buy a pile of coats and take those down to the homeless shelter. Maybe I prefer animals, so I take my money to the pet shelter instead. Or maybe there’s a donations bucket for wounded veterans or something out front of the grocery store. In those scenarios, I give my money to people that need it, though I don’t really get anything back for doing it — aside from the warm fuzzies in my heart.
Or, I could find a cause that I agree with and send the money there. A political campaign. The donations plate at my church. The GoFundMe page for a pizzeria that’s been closed down because of protests. Now I’m actively supporting something. Which means my money is speaking a little bit louder than just quietly buying meals or clothes for an anonymous group in need. I can put a face to the people getting my money. I can say that this person’s or group’s success is thanks to me. I’m part of something. And that’s important.
It’s so important that the pizzeria in question raised over $800,000 in the first 24 hours. That $800,000 didn’t come from the restaurant’s patrons; it came from anonymous people all over the country that wanted to support this particular pizzeria’s cause in discriminating against gay people.
That’s awesome, isn’t it? The owners can retire and never bake another pizza again, all because they hate the gays, and there were enough people in the country that think it’s bad they got backlash for hating the gays to send them almost a million dollars IN A DAY.
It’s all so clear now.
I’ve been laboring under the false pretense that the American Dream involved working really hard in your job and making enough money to provide you and your family a decent living. Picket fences and all that. But that’s yesterday’s dream.
In the age of the internet, there’s a new American Dream, and man oh man is it sweet.
The dream goes like this:
- Work somewhere. Anywhere. It’s probably better if you own your own business, but I don’t think it’s necessary.
- Acquire some controversial beliefs. Gay issues are hot right now and thus are probably overdone. Maybe look into weird oppressive stances on dwarf boxing, or insist that the earth is flat.
- Operate your business as usual until you meet somebody who runs afoul of your chosen controversial belief. Refuse to offer this person your goods and/or services based on your dispute over said belief.
- Make a big stink on social media about the argument that ensues. If necessary, call a local news station. (It’s better if the person you refused service to does this for you, but however the dumpster fire gets started, it works out in your favor.)
- Close down your business or resign your position, citing “protests from the community” or “online threats” or “fear of magical civil rights fairies”. Again, make a big deal about it on social media.
- Create a GoFundMe page in support of re-opening your business or getting your job back.
- Retire in Aruba.
This will work for as long as fools and their money remain in close quarters with each other. Oh, and for as long as people continue to hold their religious (or social, or scientific, or whatever) beliefs more dear to them than the rights of individuals.
Which will probably be forever.