My strictly kosher experience at Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day

Although I am a native Chicagoan who has lived in the city for many years apparently I am not a good citizen according to our mayor, Rahm Emanuel (D). By his description, I lack Chicago values.

Guilty! I am so respectful of my fellow neighbors and other residents that I have never murdered any of them nor have I bribed any city, county or state employee, all standard behavior and practices in our city. I also believe in the US Constitution, including the sections guaranteeing the free exercise of religion and freedom of speech which, according to the mayor and one of his alderman, are available only to those who agree with the mayor.

I have other political, philosophical, economic and religious differences with the mayor. While I respect his right to his opinions, if I wanted to open a business in the city--highly unlikely given the red tape and other complications--he would be able to stop me simply because he disagreed with me. As a Jew who knows how easy it is to be marginalized and then criminalized, the mayor's thuggery towards Chick-fil-A worried me. And so I decided to participate in Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day to stand up for diversity, pluralism and multi culturalism. But there was a major problem: I keep kosher, biblically mandated Jewish food rules (don't ask), but the restaurant is definitely not kosher so normally I would avoid it. But I resolved that problem by deciding to order just a diet soft drink, skipping their specialty cuisine. I brought along an apple and some nuts to round out my meal.

And so off I went to the city franchise in the heart of the city, near universities, businesses, shopping and tourist attractions. There was a long line which moved quickly, the people were friendly. Many of the diners, of all ages and backgrounds, were first time visitors showing support, mingling with the usual patrons. I ordered my soft drink, asking the cashier if the restaurant was always this busy. He grinned and said no. I took my drink and went out to the sidewalk dining area to enjoy my makeshift meal as I watched the passing parade. New customers continued to arrive, the media interviewed the passing crowd. A few people passed out hand written fliers defining American Values as biblical ones. Outside a man held out a cardboard box, soliciting donations to buy a Chick-fil-A lunch for the alderman who opposed the restaurant in his ward. Occasionally employees would come out to clean the tables. I also asked them if the restaurant was always so busy. "No," they laughed.

From what I heard most of the people who specifically came for Appreciation Day did so not because of the president of Chick-fil-A's ideas on same sex marriage but to support freedom of opinion and oppose political bulldozing.

Finishing my little snack, I left. Others arrived. Nearby restaurants, including other franchises, were not as busy.

Rahm Emanuel: we embody Chicago values of tolerance and hard work. You, the mayor, don't. Go learn them.