The next phase of our ginned-up national moral panic will contain public shunning and harassment in their private lives of people we disagree with. If that’s the way society is heading — a divorce — by all means do this thing right. In the United States, even the pretend oppressed can kick the imaginary Nazi out of their establishment, as we saw when the co-owner of the Red Hen in Lexington, Virginia booted White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders from her restaurant.
Certainly politicians don’t deserves safe spaces from peaceful protest or even confrontation (of course, spitting at Republicans is not peaceful). You want to make their lives miserable, humiliate them, and show everyone how principled and right-thinking you are, by all means stop them from having those chimichangas. That’ll teach ‘em.
But don’t fool yourself into self-idealization. You’re no budding MLK. No matter what you think of Trump, you’re still an insufferable a–h-le. You’re a member of a tribalist, blindered mob, imbued with a false sense of certitude that allows you justify incivility. That is to say, you’re like a Twitter troll made real.
It should be noted that this kind of harassment isn’t widespread in the real world, but it is widely rationalized, justified, and celebrated by liberals on social media. Many of the Left have convinced themselves that Trump administration — elected in a free and legal election and, to this point, comporting with the laws of American governance — should all be in front The Hague.
It isn’t only about child separation of illegal immigrants. It’s about tax cuts. It’s about Obamacare. It’s about long-standing conservative positions. According to many, Republicans are accomplices to murder. The hysterics that bloom with every debate are creating a swelling exasperation among Democrats that borders on religiosity. Apparently this excuses almost any behavior or rhetoric.
“If you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station,” said Rep. Maxine Waters, erstwhile outlier of the irrational hateful Left and now-hero of the Resistance, “you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them, and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.” Create a crowd, huh? Not welcome anywhere? That’s a tough spot.
Now, should it even be said that if any conservative had called for mobs to badger Democrats when they’re at the supermarket, the nation would be thrust into a national dialogue about the growing and perilous incivility on the Right. There would be a flood of anxious op-ed pieces and cable news roundtables featuring chin-stroking hypocrites contemplating the future of discourse in America. No one would be spared. Every Republican politician on Earth would be asked to condemn these comments.
Why am I speculating? This is exactly what happened during the peaceful Tea Party protests.
But one of the most rickety rationalizations for the practice of kicking Republicans out of your restaurants, which is reminiscent of those who justify Trump boorishness, is pushing weak whataboutism.
“Some who defend baker’s right to refuse service to gay couples, whine re ppl refusing service to a person who’s the face of a deceitful Administration,” tweeted the perpetually confused Ana Navarro. “What’s good for the goose, is good for the Red Hen. Difference is, being gay is not a choice. Being an accomplice to Trump, is.”
The problem with this widely used talking point isn’t the tit-for-tat vacousness of the flawed analogy. It’s that Jack Phillips never refused service for a gay couple in the first place. That’s simply a smear that the Left has endlessly repeated. Phillips, whose shop was open to everyone, refused to design a unique cake that featured a message that he felt undermined his faith. He would have refused to make the same cake for a straight couple, or any kind of cake that undermined his faith for any kind of person.
The owner of the Red Hen, on the other hand, refused service for someone because she disliked their beliefs. She’s free to do so. But Sanders didn’t demand that the chef at the Red Hen create a specialized “Make America Great” dish.
Now, if you believe Sanders works for an “inhumane and unethical” administration, as the co-owner of the Red Hen does, that’s fine. (It is interesting that her supposed moral outrage seems to be wholly predicated on policies that existed under the Obama administration.) I’m sure Republicans can relate. I’m sure social conservatives saw the Obama administration’s support of abortion with virtually no limitations just as morally repugnant. Many liberals don’t even want to allow people to protest the practice.
To some extent, Trump invites this sort of reaction. Then again, to some extent, political Trump exists because of the decades of hyperbolic attacks on Republicans. Fact is, Democrats make little distinction between soft-spoken moderates like Paul Ryan or crude sometimes-conservatives like Trump. Democrats have been comparing Republicans to Nazis since the 1960s.
If you believe this is true, you have to ask yourself: Why wouldn’t you kick the imaginary Nazi out of your restaurant? Why wouldn’t you spit on the imaginary Nazi? Why wouldn’t you punch the imaginary Nazi? Maybe that’s where it all leads.