Over the course of the last week, Stephen Miller, Kirstjen Nielsen, and Sarah Huckabee Sanders have been chased out of D.C area eating establishments, and Florida AG Pam Bondi was heckled out of a screening of the Fred Rogers documentary, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
This is probably the beginning of a trend that sees private establishments protest the administration in small but significant ways, and it’s a trend that I wholeheartedly agree with. But there are dangers.
Yesterday, The Washington Post wrote an op-ed asserting that we should let Trump’s people “eat in peace.”
It wasn’t the first time recently that strong political feelings have spilled into what used to be considered the private sphere. We understand the strength of the feelings, but we don’t think the spilling is a healthy development.
But this, this is not about politics. This is not about disagreeing with Trump’s position on free trade, or even health care. This is about something much bigger: It’s about human rights abuses. It’s about respecting the dignity of all lives. Trump wants to throw kids in cages — and he’s already regretting signing that Executive Order — and it’s about taking away due process rights at the border. He wants to deny asylum seekers a simple hearing, and ship them back, but where there’s no due process, there’s nothing stopping Trump from rounding anyone up and shipping them out of the country, regardless of their citizenship status.
This is a moral issue. Standing up to the administration is a moral imperative, particularly now, when our elected representatives are either not representing us in forceful ways, or they’re not in a position to because a man who received 3 million votes less than his opponent is refusing basic human dignities to those who need it most.
But there is a danger, one that the Post piece alerts us to: “How hard is it to imagine, for example, people who strongly believe that abortion is murder deciding that judges or other officials who protect abortion rights should not be able to live peaceably with their families?”
It’s a poor example because pro-choice advocates have been harassed for decades; doctors who provide abortions have been murdered; and those who seek services from pro-choice organizations like Planned Parenthood are shamed, bullied, and harassed every time they walk into the building.
But in the divisive America we live in now, there’s every possibility that this spirals out of control. That liberals are denied service in Red states because we believe in “open borders” and we want to allow MS-13 into our country to rape and murder our daughters. Is that true? Of course not! But Trumpism is a dangerous thing.
The Red Hen Restaurant should focus more on cleaning its filthy canopies, doors and windows (badly needs a paint job) rather than refusing to serve a fine person like Sarah Huckabee Sanders. I always had a rule, if a restaurant is dirty on the outside, it is dirty on the inside!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 25, 2018
Trump is trying to use the powers of his presidency to destroy a business. If it doesn’t succeed, his followers may physically destroy it. Trump has probably endangered the lives of those who work there.
This will be the price we pay for taking a moral stand.
But also, you know: Fuck it. What else can you do? We have to do something. And there’s not much a restaurant owner in Virginia can do to make her voice heard besides taking these small but principled stands. I just hope that for every person who takes a stand, that the rest of us can have their backs.
So, that’s where we’re at. It’s not just standing up against the Administration now; it’s standing up for the powerless; and it’s standing up for each other. It doesn’t necessarily need to be about hating the other side; it can be about loving our own. For them, it’s gonna be about “owning the libs.” For us, it can be about showing support for each other.