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On incivility: “I work for a lying, bigoted aspiring dictator” isn’t a protected class

Screenshot from CNN coverage of Sarah Sanders delivering a press briefing, with chyron reading "Sarah Sanders says she was kicked out of restaurant because she works for Trump"
Sarah Sanders responded to a reporter’s question during the morning press briefing by confirming that yup, separating more than 2,000 children from their families is way civil.

Recently, White House mouthpiece Sarah Sanders was asked to leave the Red Hen Restaurant in Lexington, Virginia, after committing the unforgivable offense of being White House mouthpiece Sarah Sanders. (Did I make that sound sarcastic? Because I meant it sincerely. What Sanders does is unforgivably offensive.)

Cry me a fucking river.

Business owners do, with some exceptions, have the right to refuse service to any customer for any reason. Those exceptions fall into the category of protected classes — people protected by law from discrimination on the basis of race, religion, sex, etc. They can be denied service for other reasons — a bartender can refuse to serve a customer with a disability who’s extremely drunk, because that person is extremely drunk, not because they have a disability. That’s what made the Masterpiece Cakeshop case so controversial — the bakery was refusing service to the customers solely on the basis that said customers are gay, which the shop isn’t supposed to do (unless, as recently established, Jesus tells them not to).

But even the most generous interpretation of the law doesn’t offer those protections to people who work for the bigoted, ignorant, dishonest, egocentric steaming garbage pile that is our current president. So if the employees of the Red Hen agree that they don’t want to serve Sanders, they don’t have to. If administration employees can’t get laid without lying about who they work for, their potential paramours have every right to swipe left on someone who willingly enables Trump’s daily atrocities. Employers aren’t obliged to hire applicants who have demonstrated questionable moral and ethical standards. Sorry, kids, you stepped into this yourself.

Since Sanders’s Twitter whine (from her official White House Twitter account), of course, much of the conversation has been focused on the topic of manners and civility. Even if the restaurant can ask her to leave, people argue, they shouldn’t, because it’s rude. Even though the Trump camp has been eroding the very concept of civility from Day 1, we still have the responsibility to be civil, we have to rise above it, and yes, that’s true, arguably, but seriously, a person can only go so high for so long and honestly just fuck it.

Gaslighting the American people day after day from the podium in the White House briefing room, while maintaining a level tone and scolding reporters for perceived rudeness, is about as uncivil as they come, because not only is it dishonest and a violation of trust, it cloaks itself in a conscious air of civility. I’m going to lie to your fucking face, and if you take offense at it, I’m going to make you look like the rude one. At the risk of wandering into kindergarten logic: You started it, Sal. I’m happy to be civil to someone I disagree with, even disagree with vehemently, but once you reveal yourself to be an utter waste of skin, I owe you nothing. And marginalized people who are being systematically fucked over by your bullshit owe you less than nothing.

Working for the Trump administration is a choice. No one is required to do it. Your choices say something about your character, and Sanders’s choices, and the choices of her colleagues, are fucking reprehensible. Trump throws around racist rhetoric, tears families apart, praises brutal dictators, and unashamedly lies his ass off, and she stands up and proudly defends it. Taking Sarah Sanders aside on the patio and quietly asking her to leave is a champagne bucket with complimentary mani-pedi of civility compared to the shit she does on the daily.

What, precisely, is “civility” supposed to look like in this case? Never speaking up when someone does something horrible? Continuing to patronize a company that sponsors a public figure who violates everything you hold dear? Serving a cheese plate to someone you find reprehensible? If I calmly write a blog post to criticize a woman who stands in front of the press to spew some of the most vile bullshit imaginable in defense of arguably the most vile president imaginable, am I really meant to just hold my tongue in the name of civility? (Is it because I use the F-word so much? I’ve been trying to cut back.)

I’m generally a polite person. I was raised right (and none of my current tendencies represent a failure on the part of Mama or Papa Caperton). Maybe I should be civil about this stuff, but there are a lot of things I should be doing. The dishwasher needs to be unloaded, and I think the cat just barfed on the carpet, but I’m sure I’ll eventually get around to coddling the feelings of a compassionless, detestable liar who’s been the recent victim of, gasp, rudeness. You’re on my GAF list, Sal, cross my heart.

Seriously, though, fuck Trump and everyone who chooses to work in his administration. You’re enabling a monster, you’re complicit in his monstrosity, and if I had a restaurant, I’d kick your ass out of it, too. I’m not going to burn a lot of calories wiping away tears for Sanders and Co. while [insert literally anything else that’s even mildly significant right now] is legitimately hurting people and damaging the fabric of our country.

2 thoughts on On incivility: “I work for a lying, bigoted aspiring dictator” isn’t a protected class

  1. Our registration receipts state in bold ink: “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone”. We’ve hosted several sexual preferences, all colors, and numerous nationalities. Notoriety factors, though–known violent criminals, drug sellers, meth cookers featured on the front page of Hick Town News–will be turned away.

    Boss man’s a neocon, but Sarah and an entourage of Fox reporters definitely would look like noise and disturbance to me and probably to other guests. Trump and company would benefit from some exclusion, if only to learn how poor folks and immigrants live.

    Owning a business and paying enormous utility bills and taxes should entitle the owner to a certain amount of freedom of choice. Superstitions based in Bronze Age books should not.

  2. Ikve always enjoyed your writing, even with the f-bombs. Vote! Drag everybody you can to register. Help them get approved ids. There are more of us than them. We can, and damn we should, vote these people away.

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