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Disrupt Dinner

Photo by Nathaniel St. Clair

The scramble for respectability is on again. Pundits and liberals are falling over each other to distance themselves from the owner of the Red Hen restaurant who 86’d Sarah Huckabee Sanders and her crew.

Oh, the incivility, they wail. That’s stooping to Trump’s level, they decry. Food should not be politicized, whine the cuisine critics who have never gone hungry.

But comparing the studied cruelty of Trump’s Zero Tolerance program, with its separating families in violation of international human rights law and imprisoning them for a misdeanor, the child abuse and parental angst involved, the use of these government-kidnapped children as hostages for, first, $25 billion for The Wall and then for voluntary self-deportation, not to mention the racism – to somehow equate those offenses with disrupting the dinner parties of that strategy’s architects and apologists requires some rhetorical and logical gymnastics. Defending these people’s right to enjoy an evening out on the town after a hard day of enforcing and perpetuating barbarism, displays not only an unbelievable lack of proportionality, but an equally unbelievable lack of empathy.

That some people are so outraged by the arrogant inhumanity that they can’t contain the urge to act out, to pull a DeNiro, is understandable, even admirable.

No one expects anything less from Trump, who regularly calls his opponents names and incites and threatens violence against them, and his Trumpets, than to respond cynically and denounce the public shaming as beyond the boundaries of proper society. But to have the press, politicians and activists provide them public relations cover is a collusion begging for its own special investigation.

Sanders, as Trump’s spokeswoman, daily excuses the administration’s nasty and hateful policies with an equally nasty and hateful tone. She revels in being Trump’s lack of conscience and lightening rod. She has gleefully taken on the role of the Trump administration’s designated victim.

She feigned turning the other cheek in front of the media when she relayed the story of being politely asked to leave the Red Hen. She had debuted her victim role to rave reviews from the same respectability seekers when she recently acted so offended at being (one of many) skewered at the White House Correspondence Dinner, traditionally a roast of the administration and the media.

The action at the Red Hen, as well as the noisy public shaming (at, provocatively, Mexican restaurants) of Dept. of Homeland Security Secretary Kristjen Nielson and Stephen Miller, the philosophical Führer of Trump’s policies, were peaceful protests. The only things hurled at these people were angry epithets and sarcastic chants. Nothing comparable to the violence visited on the migrants and their children seeking asylum.

So let us defend those who won’t stay silent in the face of this cruelty and tyranny. Let us join their chorus, raise our voices and shout with them: “No justice, No dinner.”

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