Monthly Archives: July 2012

I am a Liberal, Gay-Loving Person who works at Chick-fil-A

chick fil a

(Please note: This is purely my own opinion. I do not represent anyone except myself.)

For a very long time, I’ve wanted to make a Facebook status about this identity crisis that I’ve had for as long as I can remember.

I’ve finally been pushed to actually write something after the President of Chick-fil-A admitted that he was against gay marriage. (Didn’t we already know this? I’m shocked people didn’t already know.)

I work at Chick-fil-A. I absolutely love my job. Let me repeat that: I love my job. I get to work with all of my friends in a safe and fun environment, while also giving great customer service and being proud of the work that I’m doing. Plus I’m making a decent wage.

I am also an intern at the Obama campaign. I am the Director of Media Relations for UNI Proud, the University of Northern Iowa’s LGBT Group. I have been to two pride festivals. I have more gay male friends than I have straight male friends.

As you can assume, my job that I love and the people that I love don’t always coincide, but they both have made me the person that I am today.

Likewise, with both “sides” of my life, I have hidden the real person that I am.

When I told one person at work that I might intern with the Obama campaign, I was immediately debated and battled. After interning over a month, I have finally told a small section of the people that I work with about my internship.

When I tell people at UNI that I have a job in my hometown, I don’t say Chick-fil-A. I always say the name of the mall I work in, or I just say I work at a restaurant. The instant I say Chick-fil-A at my school, the response is “You know they’re homophobic, right?”

And recently, my Facebook feed (and Tumblr…and Twitter) has been blown up with people boycotting Chick-fil-A and assuming that everyone who goes there or works there are all bigoted.

It makes me extremely confused about what I should tell people. When I present my conservative mother with this issue, she tells me to get over this “gay trend.” When I tell my gay friends about this, they tell me to quit my job.

Today I told one of my friends about this idea I had for the blog and she asked, “I’ve known you for a long time, but I have never understood why you as a liberal actually like your job at Chick-fil-A.”

And for over two years, while I have always known that the corporation was against an issue that I feel strongly about, it was not until recently when The New York Times and even KCCI  decided to cover the controversy that I ask myself,

Is it possible to have pride in your job, even when it doesn’t agree with your morals?

It seems that in the argument over Chick-fil-A, there is no gray area in between. Either you despise the establishment and vow to never let those delicious chicken nuggets touch your lips, or you’re Mike Huckabee and you’re a gross bigot who hates everything that’s not conservative and Christian. (And don’t get me started on Rick Santorum…)

However, it’s not all like that. There is a difference between a corporation and it’s people.

At my store, we’ve had multiple openly gay employees. While I’m pretty positive I’m the only democrat, I know that some of my co-workers don’t really care whether gay or straight people get married. And of course, there are many of my co-workers who believe that marriage should be between a man and a wife. That’s no issue, everyone is entitled to their own beliefs.

And I don’t blame the people who are boycotting our store now. After all, if I only had the media’s perspective on the issue, I would be one of those people as well. But there’s so much more. One person does not represent hundreds of stores and thousands of employees, even if he is the president.

I agree that donating millions of dollars to anti-gay marriage organizations is wrong, and I understand people don’t want their money going towards that. I wouldn’t either. (Source: NY Times: Gay Rights Uproar Over Chick-fil-A Widens)

However, it also makes me sad that there are people out there who aren’t going to experience our great service and delicious food. They’re not going to understand why I think our store is so great. And it makes me extremely upset that there are going to be people out there that will automatically assume that we’re all homophobic people, when in fact, I work fantastic people, and while some may have their beliefs that are different than mine, I still respect them.

I’m definitely biased because I’m viewing this from “inside the trade” and I see it more locally than corporate wide. But my bias towards wanting the most happiness for my friends and knowing that they should get the right to get married, no matter, what also creates a rip inside of me.

And so after all of that rambling, to answer my question about whether it’s possible to have pride in your job even when it’s against your morals…

I honestly don’t know.

I know that I’m happy with where I’m working, but I know that it sucks that the president of the company doesn’t agree with my views and would purposely try to block off the happiness and equal rights that so many in our country deserve. (Though he does have every right to do so.)

I know that I’m proud of the great service that we give and the emphasis we have on treating everyone with respect. I wish that my job would stop feeling like a political statement these days.

I am proud of where I work at and the people I work with. They respect my views and I respect their views as well. I am not proud of  the corporation’s stance on marriage equality.

And so I ask, oh lovely readers of mine who have graciously read the ramblings of confusion that I have felt for so long:

Is it possible to have pride in your job, even if it’s against your morals?

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Behind the Camera: Cortney Kintzer

Recently, I was lucky enough to conduct an e-mail interview with my friend’s dad, Cortney Kintzer.

Cortney works as Director of Photography at KCCI-TV here in Des Moines, and he is also a recipient of an Emmy Award for his great work at the station.

Check out my interview with him, where he talks about his love for journalism, how he got into the industry and what aspiring journalists should do to achieve their dream.

How did you get started in journalism?

My dad worked for the Associated Press as a teletype operator, so the CBS Evening News was always on in our house at 5:30 each evening.  When I was in junior high school, I wanted to be a Hollywood movie cameraman, but in watching the news, I thought a career in TV News photojournalism sounded interesting and fun.  I had a home movie camera that I used to carry around, and after awhile, I started showing up at news events and started filming them on my own.  My dad was even able to get me my first press pass, to cover President Gerald Ford’s visit to Iowa in 1974.

Who were influences for your career?

I guess my first influence was my boss at WHO-TV, Lisle Shires.  He was their Chief Photographer and he hired me as a junior at Roosevelt High School (in Des Moines), to work in the station’s film lab.  That was May of 1975.  He taught me how to shoot and edit 16mm color film for the station’s news programs.  I was VERY lucky to get a break at that young age.  As the old saying goes…he taught me all that I know.

What do I enjoy about my job?  I call it the “Ultimate backstage pass to Life”….!  I have been to the White House twice to shoot a one-on-one interview with both President Clinton, and President Obama.  I have been to the Grammy Awards four years in a row to shoot interviews on the Red Carpet, even wore a tux because we had tickets to the show! I also shoot, fires, murders, weather footage, nature stories, interviews, features and live shots.  Every day is a new adventure!

What aspects of your job do you enjoy?

The best part of the job is meeting so many different people, in all lines of work and situations.  I LOVE traveling around rural Iowa and visiting small towns.  Every day is so interesting….I never know what I am going to each day until I come into work.  My shift is M-F, 9:30am until 6pm.  I am “on-call” 24 hours a day.  Sometimes I might get called out of bed at 2am, to shoot a fire or a bad accident.  When the weather is nice, I get to be outside every day shooting….and when the weather is lousy, well, I have a rain cover for my camera to keep it dry, and I just have to dress to keep warm!!!!

What advice would you give to aspiring broadcast journalists?

My advice to aspiring journalists is to call your favorite TV newsroom and ask for a tour, and to shadow a journalist for the day.

What is it like in the KCCI studio?

Our job at News Channel 8 is to keep the community informed about what is going on in and around Iowa.

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The Heartbreak Bloggers Face

Today I visited campus to help with orientation. An acquaintance came up to me and asked me if I still write.

I said no.

He offered up a suggestion and then we were both on our way.

My “no” was a simple answer, but it doesn’t live up to the agony and self-loathing that has occurred for the past few weeks.

He doesn’t know that for the past few weeks, I have 17 blog drafts that have a few feeble sentences on each one. Born from a burst of light in my mind, but not strong enough and quickly dead on my florescent computer screen.

He doesn’t know that I have been trying to push ideas through my cranium, jamming my fingers against the cold unforgiving keyboard, begging my mind:

“PLEASE. PLEASE LET ME WRITE SOMETHING.”

And deep down inside, I question, “Is this the end? Will this be another project where I was too lazy, too uninspired, too unnoticed, too little reward… Will this end up in the depths of my computer’s recycling bin where I will try to forget it and not remember that this is another one of my many projects that started out great and ended in a complete catastrophe.

He doesn’t know that every time I write something, I question if someone will actually read it. Or perhaps they’ll press that little “like” star button without reading it, just because some other asshole also wants me to visit his blog. To actually READ his blog, because god forbid that it was too hard for him to read mine but he made an effort and pressed a little star to try and make me go visit his.

He doesn’t know that as a writer you’re EXPECTED to spill your guts, but if someone was to lay me down and dissect my stomach, they would only find spicy cheeto’s and sour gummy worms.

And in that one moment, in that one flick of an eye, I reach out for an idea and it’s gone. It’s gone. Or when I grasp that idea but then try to push it through my fingers onto the keyboard… My mind gets in the way and my fingers fumble and they don’t know what to do or what to say or how to feel or what the point even is. (And yes. Ending in a preposition is bad, but I don’t see the grammar police crashing through me ceiling.)

Why oh why does everthing that a writer loves, dies?

Shakespeare, for example. He kills everything. Why does he kill the people that he nurtured and loved and gave life to, only to take it away with the quickness of a pen scratch?

And perhaps I can’t think of any ideas because sometimes it feels like I’m writing not for myself, but for the views. Yes we all know that feeling. That little jump in our heart when we see that random person from Australia has viewed our post and we think, “Oh yay. Our miniscule part that we hope to leave on the world has actually been read from across the Atlantic.”

This evening I thought about my answer. “No.” It pounded against my head. “No, no, no, no, no, no, no.”

No– I don’t care about oxford commas or even commas in general. No– I’ve stopped trying to get people to understand the messed up shit that comes from my mind. No– I’m sick of trying to write for other people or for potential employers. No– I haven’t been writing for myself.

Yes. I will say it now. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.

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