Today, I bring you a segment from the David Pakman Show which caught my attention. The news story being covered was about a Trump supporter who found himself removed from a bar seemingly because of the hat (and it’s representative political affiliations).
The first thing that needs to be said (though it should be obvious) is that this is in the context of the United States. When Free Speech and Expression are concerned, international boundaries matter. How this plays out in the US is likely different than it would play out almost anywhere else.
To start, when it comes to the free speech debate, I no longer really stake out a position. It is one of the only debates where the status quo logical position is positioning yourself right at the extreme, the so-called Free Speech Absolutist. Though I used to be there as well, further life lessons have taught me that occupying the extremes of an ideology often times means overlooking various (and often times important) nuances.
While the absolutists are in good company in their chosen position (following people like Christopher Hitchens and Noam Chomsky), I can’t help but wonder if the position overlooks some important nuances. Particularly in the context of the last 2 years, with the rise of the fascist right all over the world.
If sunlight is truly the best disinfectant for these toxic ideologies, then should they not be falling away instead of growing? Is it REALLY that important that ideas that have rightfully fallen out of favor DECADES ago, be allowed to be spoken?
Again, at this point, I don’t stake out any position. I don’t have enough data to do so.
To bring it back to the original topic, I have a definite position on this. Which is, this is ridiculous.
The first thing that must be acknowledged is that private businesses are essentially sovereign entities, entitled to enforce whatever rules and regulation they choose (short of discrimination). This judgment and legal precedent seem to state clearly that political affiliations and beliefs do not count as a protected class, and therefore removal based on such is not discrimination (at least in the eyes of the law). A risky proposition, if you ask me.
From what I can tell, there were no behavioral reasonings for the refusal of service and subsequent removal from the establishment (other than the highlighted). The spirituality and mention of the 9/11 memorial are a bit ridiculous. But in all honesty, this should not have happened.
I am not without empathy. I remember January 2017. The first 3 months of that year were a blur of horror. Having to deal with THIS walking into your establishment was no picnic. Particularly when it was likely deliberately in your face. Let’s be honest.
None the less, there is a reason why law tends not to be driven by emotional reactions. Emotions are messy and often irrational. Short of the patron giving a legitimate reason for removal, one should just have done the capitalist thing and taken his money.
As for the court decision . . . I can’t help but think that this could be troubling.
This happened in New York City, so those involved live in the liberal side of the nation. Included in this is also David Pakman and his co-host Pat, both residing in Boston. There is not much chance of finding yourself a democrat in a republican owned establishment in this area. Neither coast for sure, and possibly even most major cities (since cities tend to vote liberal). One can not say the same thing for a Democrat in middle America, however.
This has come up before, in the context of establishments refusing to serve openly GLBTQ+ patrons. I say openly because how would the business owners know otherwise, and I use the + sign to encompass the ever-changing additions to the acronym.
Either way, I used to not care about businesses not serving any clientele for any reason, because they can go elsewhere. However, my mind was changed after the I realized that such businesses as pharmacies could also enforce such restrictions. If you live in a town with a private pharmacy that refuses to provide contraceptives or birth control for religious reasons, there may be no easy alternative. I doubt that your corporates like CVS or Walgreens would allow such policies in their stores. But they are not everywhere.
Though political affiliations are not considered a protected form of speech, I can’t help but wonder now, if they should. Because now that this obviously left-leaning establishment in the heart of the American liberal bubble has opened this can of worms, will the business owners in Trump’s 30% or so base start utilizing this loophole? Possibly to masquerade their true bias (insert protected class here)?
Am I making a mountain out of a molehill?