Maybe it's not fair that regular citizens are being called on to have more class and community spirit than the leader of the free world. But when you don't, he wins.
Can’t we all just get along?
Nope, we cannot.
“Do note that if you even remotely like Trump or what the republicans represent these days, well, you probably should not consider living here,” reads a current Craigslist ad for a house-for-share in Seattle’s Ravenna neighborhood.
“If you voted for Trump or you love his policy’s (sic), then this is not the place for you,” reads another room-for-rent ad.
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“We will not accept anyone who voted for Trump,” reads a third ad, for a house share in Ballard. “Must be open-minded … ”
These are actual ads running right now in the Seattle area. Back in the old millennium, when I was in the room-renting market, you might get asked whether you stayed up late, or ate vegetarian, or were sufficiently committed to recycling.
Now there seems to be one litmus test that rules them all.
“No Trump,” reads another ad, for a house share near Lake Union. “And no, we’re not playing cards.”
On one level this attempt at sorting is understandable. These are hyper-polarized times, and these people are looking for someone who will share shelf space in the house fridge. Why risk bringing a blue versus red culture war into it?
But it’s also becoming clearer all the time: Liberals are losing their minds a little bit. Rather, they’re letting Trump get inside their heads. Which means: He’s winning.
Exhibit A was the reaction this week when Trump’s press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, was kicked out of a restaurant.
Sure it’s super-annoying to be lectured by conservatives, of all people, about “civility.” Their own standard-bearer, the leader of the free world, is the most boorish public bully on the scene. Yet it’s the actions of a small farm-to-table restaurant owner in Virginia that’s deemed a national affront?
That said, liberals who cheered Sanders’ getting the boot only demonstrated how Trump has dragged everybody down to his juvenile level. Because kicking somebody out of a public accommodation for her political beliefs is wrong (though probably legal, at least in Virginia.) It’s wrong in the same vein that refusing to make a floral arrangement for a gay couple is wrong (though that’s probably illegal, at least in our state, though that case is ongoing.)
That Sanders defends turning away gay couples means she just got a taste of her own discriminatory medicine. So at a gut level that may be satisfying. But the bigger picture is that the principle of equal access for all – the one that liberals were defending so eloquently in the florist case – has been muddied.
Which is exactly where Trump wants you, liberals! He wants you all muddied up. He wants you to act as egregiously and tribally as he would in the same situation, so he can point to it and say “see?” This frees him to behave even more outrageously the next time, which only ratchets his official deviancy down, down, down.
Being a liberal used to mean defending the rights of the Nazis to march in Skokie, Illinois. Now it means barring presidential appointees when they show up to eat?
Or, it means blocking any of the 63 million people who voted for Trump from even applying for a house-share rental? (Technically it’s legal in Seattle to screen for political beliefs in a house share or when advertising for a roommate. While it would probably be illegal here for a landlord to do so when leasing out a full house or apartment.)
“We’re devolving into a nation of shame gangs,” quipped KIRO radio’s Dave Ross, who was himself a candidate for Congress back in more normal times.
Yes, I know: It isn’t fair or usual to call on regular citizens to have more class and community spirit than the leader of the country. But that’s where we find ourselves in the new America.
You won’t hear any calls for “civility” from me, as nothing is more American than loud protest. Don’t stand down, as there’s nothing more patriotic than fighting back. I would only caution liberals this: Don’t become the very thing you’re protesting. Don’t go all authoritarian and bullying and close-minded.
If for no other reason than: He’s better at all that than you are.