Sunday, June 24, 2018
Archie Bunker is Alive and Well in Lexington, Virginia
It was heartbreaking for me to hear that one of our esteemed, local businesses made national news this weekend for all the wrong reasons. The Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, Virginia, a farm-to-table restaurant, politely ask Sarah Sanders to leave their establishment Friday night. Ms. Sanders just as politely left. The rest of her family with whom she was dining also left. The wait staff did not want to serve her because she works for President Trump.
Think about this for a long minute. Think about how one human being treated another.
The definition of a bigot is "a person who is intolerant toward those holding different opinions." I believe this is precisely what the owner and wait staff of The Red Hen displayed in refusing to serve a customer. The consensus is surprisingly split on supporting the owner's action. Half of people expressing their opinions do not support the owner's action while the other half applauds it. It appears to be split down party lines which is no surprise. What I wonder is, when did we begin applauding bigotry in America? We are in dire trouble as a society when we applaud bigotry. I know what some folks' response to this might be. "Well, Trump is a bigot, so The Red Hen just gave him a taste of his own behavior." If the restaurant owner is so disgusted by what she has deemed as bigotry in someone else, why would she behave the same way? Either she holds a double standard or she holds an an eye-for-an-eye standard. Either way is failure on a societal level.
I saw a photograph of a sign and a bouquet of flowers someone placed outside the door of The Red Hen. The sign read, "Democracy Requires Principled Gov't". Well folks, that would be each and every one of us. We are the government! And our principles need be higher than that of a bigot if we are to succeed in anything as a country, let alone as human beings. When we disagree with our governing body there is a recourse we can take. This is exactly why we have a representative government. Take it out on your congressmen or in the voting booth but do not show hate and bigotry towards other citizens for what they believe. Part of the definition for fascism is: “forcible suppression of opposition.” We walk a very fine line when we deem it okay to publicly humiliate a customer or turn away customers because of what they believe, what job they do, what faith they believe, what color their skin is… you see where this can go.
I would also like to address the fact that this story involves a restaurant. Personally, I do not elevate restaurants or movie stars to the level of gods that many people do in today’s society. Steve and I celebrated our anniversary with friends at The Red Hen last year. It was a good enough meal and I honestly don’t remember what I ordered. What I remember more is the evening spent with friends. I do believe that cooking for others, serving others, and sharing a meal with someone is a gift we give. When you turn this particular gift into a business, it should still reflect the special calling of hospitality. Regardless of what faith one practices, we should display God’s love in all we do, whether it is in our jobs, in our homes, or in serving others. Perhaps this is where God is no longer visible in our society. We have elevated our own opinions above what is the right and loving thing to do.
It is irrelevant who the president is or what kind of food a restaurant serves, once we start applauding bigotry, we are in dire trouble as a society. In doing so, we are elevating our own opinion as the only correct one (pride) and deeming others' to be beneath us (judgement). Is this honestly the society in which we want to live? Just imagine how this would play out in businesses all across our country. We must all hold ourselves to better standards than this if we are to be a loving, accepting, thriving society.
Posted by Leonora