Your table isn’t waiting. You and your kind aren’t welcome here.
You don’t have to love Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Donald Trump’s truth-be-damned press secretary, to recognize the woman has a right to dine in whatever awful restaurant she chooses, so long as she has shoes on and can pay the overpriced bill. If not a legal right, at least a moral and historical one. This is America, after all. We can patronize even businesspeople who loathe us.
Not according to the owner of the Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, Virginia, who laid a big egg this time. Sanders and seven family members were tossed to the sidewalk just because her day job is dissembling for the president of the United States. I get the emotion, but I’m sorry: That’s as narrow-minded as a cake baker in Colorado refusing to whip up a sugary wedding confection just because the groom and groom are gay.
Get a life, will you? Take the people’s money! Be a business, what do you say?
There’s a word for this overmoralizing — wrong! — whichever side is doing it now. Does every inch of our lives have to be defined by explicit tribal loyalties? Left and right! Black and white? Gay and straight! God, no God and which God. Whatever happened to just going to the store?
It was rude enough when the clueless homeland secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, was greeted at Washington’s MXDC Cocina Mexicana with chants of “shame, shame, shame.” The
oily Stephen Miller, architect of Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration, was similarly heckled at a different Mexican restaurant in Washington. But at least these were fellow diners mouthing off, not the owners or the government.
I understand. These are private businesses. They have certain rights of their own. But back in the Southern civil-rights days, a better-grounded U.S. Supreme Court held that once a business offers “public accommodation,” everyone has to be served, regardless of race, religion, color or college football team.
And now? Now, damn near everything demands a pledge of allegiance, even if we can’t remember the meaning of our flag.