Almost 18 months into the objectively unique presidency of Donald Trump and frustration is spilling into the restaurants and public spaces where members of his administration gather with the rest of us. Some are being yelled at and some are being asked to leave due to the policies that they have worked to put into place. On the left, many feel that this is the natural evolution of a moment in American history where families are being pulled apart at the border and hard-won protections are being whittled away. On the right, the stance is that this loss of civility is itself worthy of outrage. And then, there are people from both parties and the middle-ground who think that this is a sign that our future discourse is damned.
Uproxx’s Alyssa Fikse and Jason Tabrys have differing opinions on the question of civility vs incivility (but maybe not for the reasons you think) and they’ve followed the news from Sarah Sanders’ ousting at The Red Hen to Rep. Maxine Waters’ push for more confrontation and President Trump’s responses to both. In this piece, they try their best to explore this contentious moment, the possible charges of a double standard, and whether hope can spring from this latest partisan battle.
Alyssa: There are a lot of facts to consider when you examine the incident from an objective point of view. First of all, the owner of The Red Hen didn’t turn it into a huge ordeal. After discussing Sanders’ presence with her staff (which includes immigrants and members of the gay community), she politely requested that Sanders leave, comped her a cheese plate, and didn’t make a scene. Honestly, the incident wouldn’t really be newsworthy if Sanders hadn’t escalated it by calling out a private citizen from a government Twitter account. While you may not agree with the principal, the actions of the Red Hen are pretty much a textbook example of peaceful protest.
Jason: I actually don’t know that I disagree with their actions, but that does bring to mind questions about double standards. Because I know we both feel strongly that people shouldn’t be denied service due to their sexuality, race, or gender. A lot of people are trying to poke holes in arguments in favor of this kind of peaceful protest by bringing that up. Is the difference between a private citizen and a government official enough to justify the appearance of a double standard?