Northwestern Press

Saturday, July 21, 2018

guest view II

Wednesday, July 11, 2018 by The Press in Opinion

Whose ox is being gored?

As a liberal Democrat, I’ve been appalled by the potential harm done to our country by President Donald Trump’s administration, particularly to the environment and to our relationships with the rest of the world.

But I agree with the Trump supporters who have decried the attacks on administration officials in restaurants and other areas of their private lives.

There’s no excuse for asking people to leave a restaurant because you don’t agree with their policies, or for harassing them in public places.

Not only is there no excuse for such behavior, it’s counterproductive and will only provide fodder for Trump supporters.

Having said that, this breakdown in social norms didn’t start with people shouting “shame” at a Trump immigration official in a restaurant.

Where were these same critics several years ago, when Republican Congressman Joe Wilson stood up and yelled “You lie” at President Obama during his State of the Union address? Interrupting a president during that speech was previously unheard of.

And where were they during Obama’s presidency when people held up nooses, and signs depicting Obama as Hitler?

And where were they during the 2016 presidential campaign when Trump encouraged supporters at his rallies to rough up reporters or opposition demonstrators?

I also wonder how much difference there is between asking someone to leave your restaurant and refusing to bake a wedding cake for someone because you disapprove of their marriage.

In both cases, a commercial business which is supposedly open to the public is picking and choosing its customers.

It all reminds me of the old saying about whose ox is being gored. It seems to me there are a lot of oxen being gored these days, on both sides of the political spectrum.

***

Editor’s note: Julie Swan is a reporter for the Bethlehem Press.