Thousands of children, stripped from their families at the border, remain hostage to a U.S. government using them to coerce illegal-entry guilty pleas from their parents. The U.S. wants to make criminals of many seeking legal asylum.
The U.S. Supreme Court is now controlled by a critical justice produced by Republicans holding the U.S. Senate hostage for the last year of Barack Obama’s presidency. The GOP rewards have been rich. Gay discrimination. Racial gerrymandering. Anti-abortion law. Anti-Muslim travel bans.
Against this awful news, more words may have been written on social media and uttered on cable TV about where Sarah Huckabee Sanders went to dinner last Friday night.
It was funny to me that it happened in Lexington, Va., where I spent four college years in what amounted then to a haute cuisine desert. A footlong chili dog at Estelle’s Grill was the finest food available.
Sanders and her husband and friends headed for dinner Friday night at the Red Hen, a cute place famed for farm-to-table dining. The staff didn’t want to serve President Trump’s press secretary. They had moral objections to the likes of his cruel treatment of immigrants. Some were gay and have felt the lash of his discrimination against LGBT people. The owner decided it was time to stand on principle. She quietly asked Sanders to leave and comped their cheeseboard.
Word leaked out on social media. Sanders used her White House Twitter account to report the eviction while claiming that she had always treated people with respect. Video of her sneering condescension to the White House press corps provides evidence to the contrary. She’s also regularly disrespected the truth.
Still, this was not an easy call. That has made for robust public debate. The Trump people thrive on seeing themselves as victims of the elites and the libtards. Let Robert De Niro curse Trump or let an independent restaurant “86” Sarah Sanders and you know the alt-right, the Trump tribe and Russian bots will have a field day. Their caterwauling is politically useful. It drowns out the cries of Honduran toddlers fleeing gang violence.
My own first impression was, gee, I wish they’d served Sanders. How can you protest denial of service to gay people and deny service to her? But, of course, that was the Red Hen’s reverse point. How can Sanders defend a moral ground for refusing to serve gays and then be surprised to encounter a principled objection to serving someone who bears false witness and brings pain to others? A former government ethics official also said incidentally that Sanders — and later the president — were in violation of ethics rules by using official accounts to attack a tiny business in Lexington, Va.
Then there’s civility. The Washington Post editorial page was among leftie sources harrumphing about Sanders’ restaurant eviction. Can’t we get along, they asked?
Really? The MAGA snowflakes wearing “She’s a Cunt” T-shirts and burning tiki torches are triggered by denial of a meal? Gentility should be extended to a pugnacious and dishonest mouthpiece for a man who thrived on abusive speech and encouraged supporters to do violence to opponents?
Still. I’d have served Sarah Huckabee. But I can’t help but recall that her staunchest defender, her dear old race-baiting dad, Bro. Gov. Mike Huckabee, refused routine press services to the Arkansas Times because of our criticism of him. This was not only uncivil, but probably unconstitutional. (The current Republican administration does supply press releases, but it harms us more directly with financial retribution through advertising embargoes.)
Though I’d have served Sarah, I would not boycott the Red Hen should I find myself in Lexington again. Unless I found Estelle was still serving up those footlongs.