It’s Not Rude to Refuse Service to Sarah Huckabee Sanders. It’s the Height of Respect

 

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We’ve all heard the story by now.

 

 

Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders went to the Red Hen restaurant and was refused service because she works for the Trump administration.

 

 

But while many far right and mainstream media outlets are decrying the restaurateur’s decision as discourteous, they seem to have missed the point.

 

 

Discourteous?

 

 

It was exactly the opposite.

 

 

There was no greater way to show Sanders respect than to deny her service.

 

 

After all, she defended the Supreme Court’s recent ruling for a conservative baker’s right to refuse to make a cake for a gay couple’s wedding.

 

 

If Sanders thinks it’s a good thing for this baker to be able to deny service to someone because this potential customer’s lifestyle violates his moral convictions, then she should also support the owner of the Red Hen denying her service because her lifestyle violates the owner’s moral convictions.

 

 

And make no mistake – this isn’t a rebuke of Sanders. It’s a celebration.

 

 

Twice in the New Testament Jesus, himself, is quoted prescribing what has come to be called The Golden Rule.

 

In Matthew 7:12:

 

“Do to others what you want them to do to you. This is the meaning of the law of Moses and the teaching of the prophets.”

 

In Luke 6:31:

 

“Do to others what you would want them to do to you.”

 

Sanders and other Trump Republicans have done onto others in just this manner. Therefore, that is how they must also want to be treated.

 

Isn’t that exactly what the owner of the Red Hen did?

 

She knew Sanders was in favor of business owners refusing service based on their own personal religious convictions.

 

Sanders life violates the owner’s religious convictions.

 

Therefore, she should deny Sanders service.

 

What has Sanders done to violate the owner’s ethical beliefs?

 

Easy.

 

No matter what immoral and repulsive position Donald Trump takes, Sanders defends it.

 

Separating undocumented children from their parents in detention centers – she defended it.

 

Using a racial slur to describe Sen. Elizabeth Warren – Defended it.

 

Spreading lies that diversity immigrants are not vetted – backed it up.

 

Assuring us that Trump has never encouraged or promoted violence – she said it.

 

Backing up Trump’s absurd assertion that President Obama wiretapped him – she backed it up.

 

Heck! Covfefe!!!!! COVFEFE! She actually told a roomful of adults that a typo on her boss’s Twitter was a hidden message to supporters!

 

Lies, racism, blood libel, and outright fascism!

 

What Sanders does everyday in the White House violates just about everyone’s moral code.

 

So how should we treat her?

 

I say, with the utmost respect and dignity.

 

And if we truly want to give Sander’s beliefs the reverence they deserve, we should deny her service. Reporters should stop attending her press conferences. Cable news programs should stop inviting her on the air. And, yes, no more food at chicken restaurants!

 

But we shouldn’t stop with her.

 

We should do the same for every member of the Trump administration. THEY believe this stuff. We should honor their convictions and treat them how they apparently want to be treated.

 

And why stop there? Every MAGA hat wearing Trumpster you see in your everyday life should likewise be denied service.

 

When they come into our places of business, our houses of worship, our homes, we should ask them politely to leave.

 

This isn’t punishment.

 

It’s the most deferential treatment imaginable.

 

We are showing them that we honor their moral code of reciprocity and individual freedom.

 

Those who are calling for “civility” don’t seem to understand that patronizing Trumpsters would be the true mark of disrespect.

 

If they think it is right to treat others like this, then we should treat them the same way.

 

That is how you show respect for someone’s beliefs – not by denying their code and treating them by your own.

 

Now I know what some of you are thinking – Didn’t Jesus also say, “If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also” (Matthew 5:39)?

 

Yes, he did. And many of US may believe that sentiment, but Trumpsters obviously don’t or else they wouldn’t support the policies they do. Should we really force our beliefs on them? Would that be fair?

 

I say no. We should treat them by their own code – and refuse them service.

 

Ah, but I can hear this objection, too – what if treating Trumpsters like this changes their beliefs?

 

Might attaching social consequences to repugnant political views dissuade people from holding those views?

 

Perhaps.

 

But don’t we owe it to these far rightsters to give them that choice?

 

If being ostracized from society makes them recant their views, then at that point we should stop excluding them. However, this may be exactly the test Trump-servatives are hoping for. Perhaps they want to see which they care more about – being part of a civil society or supporting neo-fascist politics.

 

The best course is to treat their conviction as serious and to give it the seriousness it deserves.

 

Doing so treats them as ends in themselves and not merely as a means to social lubrication.

 

No one wants to rock the boat, but we must.

 

This is the only truly polite course of action.

 

You’re welcome, Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

 

You’re welcome, Donald Trump.

 

Now get outta here.


 

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15 thoughts on “It’s Not Rude to Refuse Service to Sarah Huckabee Sanders. It’s the Height of Respect

  1. Sigh. I don’t dispute Red Hen’s right to do what they did. Clearly if the baker can do it, so can a restaurant. I won’t even say they were wrong for doing it – certainly less wrong than the baker because, after all, the baker discriminated based on inherent status (sexual orientation) while the restaurant discriminated based on achieved status (her record as Trump’s press secretary). But with that said, I wish they hadn’t refused her service. In fact, I wish they would have served her the best the house has to offer with a whopping slice of apple pie thrown in for free.

    First, a couple of practical points. I know this can be seen as just “whataboutism”, but the Obama administration was none too clean. They too did a number of horrible things, including the devastation of Libya, Honduras and others, and the separation of immigrant children from their families in mass raids and at border crossings. Would it be okay to refuse service to a member of the Obama administration?

    Also, a lot more businesses in this country are owned by conservatives than by liberals – are we really sure we want to open this can of worms? What if a conservative establishment refuses service to an abortion provider? Or to pro-Palestinian activists? I think if we go down this tit-for-tat road, the left is going to bear the brunt of it and it’s not going to be pretty.

    But more important than the practical implications is the moral implication. After all, most of us on the left argue that what the baker did was *wrong*. Why then return a wrong for a wrong? Now, as noted above, I think the restaurant was less wrong than the baker, but still wrong.

    And, worse, it was a lost opportunity. I remember reading a story during the heyday of the Westboro Baptist Church in which, while returning from a funeral protest, one of the cars of the Westboro people blew out a tire and they were left stranded by the road. Car after car filled with counter-protesters drove by and people yelled and jeered at them, perhaps fittingly so. Then two guys finally stopped and helped them. The Westboro people assumed the guys must be like-minded folks and tried to talk to them. Turns out the guys were gay. They saw people in need of help and helped them. Now, those Westboro people probably didn’t run right out and buy rainbow suits and show up to the next Pride Parade, but that had to have made an impact, even if a small one.

    Also, the lawyer who defended Matthew Hale was a gay man of Jewish descent. Can you think of better poetic justice than that?

    There have also been cases of white supremacists repenting of their bigotry after spending time in prison among black people (“American History X” is a fictional representation of this).

    Anyway, the point is, kindness is the only way to change someone’s mind. Sure, one act of kindness probably won’t make anyone repent and turn over a new leaf. And maybe some people (perhaps Sanders?) are too far gone to ever turn over a new leaf. But it’s worth a try. It’s better than isolation and shaming. When has being rejected and ostracized ever changed your mind on anything? Chances are, you probably dug in deeper. After all, Jesus himself ate with prostitutes and tax collectors (in his day, tax collectors were the corrupted politicians of our day).

    If nothing else, it would give the restaurant the high road. They would clearly be the better people. As it is, they made a “hero” and a “martyr” out of Sanders among Trump supporters by “persecuting” her. It would be so much better had they treated her with kindness and tried to have a civil conversation with her, regardless of how she received it.

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    • Dienne, would kindness work on a Nazi? Could we have stopped Hitler in the 1930s if we’d just been kinder to him? Kindness went out the window when they ripped kids from their parents and threw them in detention centers. Kindness went out the window when they threw away due process of the law. As Vienna-born philosopher Karl Popper put it in “The Open Society and Its Enemies,” unlimited tolerance leads to the destruction of tolerance. Popper writes:

      “We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant. We should claim that any movement preaching intolerance places itself outside the law, and we should consider incitement to intolerance and persecution as criminal, in the same way as we should consider incitement to murder, or to kidnapping, or to the revival of the slave trade, as criminal.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • “Kindness went out the window when they ripped kids from their parents and threw them in detention centers. Kindness went out the window when they threw away due process of the law.”

        Again, the Obama administration did those things too. In fact, the Obama administration went so far as to assassinate a 16 year old (and his cousin) due-process free by drone due to the sins of his father. So again, I’ll ask, would it be okay to refuse service to Obama’s press secretary?

        How we should behave has little to do with how other people behave. I agree that there may be little chance of changing Sanders’ mind (although I still think it would be worth trying), but treating her with kindness has no cost and the benefit of maintaining your own integrity. What she chooses to do with that kindness is on her.

        BTW, I’m not saying to “tolerate” her intolerance as in to turn a blind eye to it. By all means, the owner should have sat down and talked to Sanders about the evils of separating children from their parents and/or other evils of the Trump administration. But do so human-to-human.

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      • Dienne, you do love a false equivalency, don’t you. I’m not fan of President Obama. I voted for a progressive and got a centrist. However, he didn’t do the same as Trump. He never issued any policy mandating children be separated from parents. He DID however find housing for children who came unaccompanied across the border seeking asylum from drug cartels and he tried to place these children with relatives in the US. However, he also gave contracts for these housing facilities to private corporations setting a bad precedent that Trump made worse.

        Moreover, there is a difference between drone strikes and due process. I’m against the drone strikes, too, but it’s not the same thing as what Trump is doing today within our borders.

        In this article, I am simply suggesting that we treat people how they say we should treat others. They can’t logically complain without revising their ethics. That’s civility, itself. Personally, I don’t think you should be denied service at a chicken place because of your politics or religion. So don’t treat me that way. But Sanders think you SHOULD treat people this way, so treat her that way. It’s really quite simple and fair.

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  2. Agreed about Obama – and Feinstein, Clinton B, Clinton H, et al. ALL of them work for the dark side of the force. None of them are classic Democrats or liberals. They all follow the policies first visualized by that “bastard brat of a Scotch pedlar,” Alexander Hamilton.

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  3. For me, it’s far more important to look at this as a tactical issue, rather than a moral one, and I think it’s a tactical mistake.

    Trump’s rising poll numbers suggest to me that moral outrage on the part of society’s affluent “winners” is counterproductive. To put it into mass media terms, the Left would be far better off following the Tony Bourdain way of listening to, while respectfully disagreeing with Trump voters (as demonstrated in the show he filmed in West Virginia) rather than the smug, self-satisfied Robert De Niro/ Tony Award style of insulting them.

    Yeah, right, having a multi-millionaire actor/real estate developer preach to the choir about how awful Trump is, while giving an award for a show where the tickets cost a thousand dollars each, that’ll cure the illin’.

    This kind of thing guarantees Trump/Pence re-election. Far better to offer people universal concrete material benefits, rather than hysterically insist on your moral superiority.

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  4. Mr. Singer, are you treating bible verses like a smorgasbord? Pick and choose what fits your fancy?

    I say that because I see the baker’s decision as following other verses. Those that tell of God’s concern and love for families (Yes, that just opened up a monumental flash point).

    My main point is, if you are going to quote verses it is more believable if you have a sense of the entire book.

    Like

    • Becky, it is nearly impossible to obey every verse of the Old and New Testament. Part of this is because of the inherent contradictions. Part of it is because some of it is CRAZY! Consider: “For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death: he hath cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him.” (Leviticus 20:9) So we should kill any child that curses their parents!? Or how about this: “But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel: Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father’s house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you.” (Deuteronomy 22: 20-21) So we should stone to death nonvirgins? Anyway, this is moot because the Bible says I, being a man, don’t have to listen to you, Becky, being a woman: “I permit no woman to teach or have authority over men; she is to keep silent.” Timothy 2:11

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  5. I agree that Old Testament sounds CRAZY. Despite my feeling so loved by God I don’t understand those proclamations. But on my part, I confess I haven’t taken the time to do an in depth study of them or read much of the scholars who have studied the culture of that time and what they feel are the meanings.

    But most importantly, a tenant of Christianity is with Christ’s arrival and work we do not live under the Old Testament. We are free. Hence the name, New Testament.

    Actually I’m not teaching you in scripture, just sharing my thoughts. Though I aspire to be like the first women who saw the risen Christ and organized the first house churches–there are a lot of women role models.

    I do appreciate your kind tone in your reply. As a Christian now days I feel sharing my beliefs is setting yourself up for attack. As a child of the 60’s I always wondered about books like 1984 and who Big Brother is. Now I see it is “political correctness”. Thanks for an open forum.

    Liked by 1 person

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