Red Herrings, Red Hens and Moral Equivalence

see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil

Several articles regarding the “confrontation” between Sarah Huckabee-Sanders and the staff at the Red Hen made their way into the news this past week, the writers of which seem to have grave concerns over our health and the direction our morals are heading, writing;

“Now, in a free country, business owners should be able to decide whom they wish to serve.  But the Left disagrees with that fundamental premise”

Providing its own brand of political perspective on the actions of Red Hen employees while comparing it to another recent issue concerning bakeries and gay couples, the 

National Review also contends;

The question is why some people on the Left seem to believe that standing up against Sanders’s dinner order is laudable, but refusing to participate in a same-sex wedding ought to be punished by the government.

Well, the National Review got it partly right – they choose to stand up to Huckabee-Sanders, but certainly not for the absurd reasons stated.  No one on the “left” that I know would even suggest punishment by anyone, much less the government, for participation in same-sex weddings.  In fact; I think they would say it’s none of their damned business.

One things for certain; this particular writer has the left entirely misconstrued.

Surprising for me is the opinion expressed by the Washington Post Editorial Board, which seems to be saying that such behavior is not only inappropriate, but unhealthy for society.

We understand the strength of the feelings, but we don’t think the spilling is a healthy development.

Really?  You think everyone should just close their eyes to what they perceive as wrong?

Is this the same WaPo of the sixties and seventies?  The WaPo we’ve come to admire as the very bastion of government watch-dogging?  Or is it institutional self-righteous might exposed in the heat of the moment?

Whatever it is, I’m truly shocked.

Reason was just, well very reasonable in their reaction to the situation, coming closer to the bullseye than any of the others;

The insistence that wedding vendors be required by law to work gay weddings is often framed in terms of civility as well, with appeals to the deep emotional harm and “deprivation of personal dignity” that can come from being refused service.

I can’t speak for “the “left”, or the “right” nor do I even wish to try, as I’m just one more person with yet another opinion about this, person who’s fed up with being fed a diet of stories that imply we must be either right or left.  No labels, no hyperbole, I just see this debate in a far different light.

And here is that light:

Coming to the defense of the gay patron was not an attack on the baker as an individual, rather a protest against the institutionalized bigotry that played such a prominent role in society decades ago, bigotry we thought we had quashed.

Likewise, the act of the employees and patrons of Red Hen politely asking Huckabee-Sanders to leave, was not because she’s Sarah Huckabee-Sanders.  It was, however, a voice of opposition to the ideology she embraces.  And she’s not simply a representative, but a distinguished leader of a very aggressive and oppressive institutional ideology.

The writer at National Review states;

“The answer, aside from tribal partisan politics, is the misapplication of the Golden Rule”

Obviously, he’s far from having the “answer” himself.  In fact, if he thinks turning our heads, allowing bakers to degrade others and covering our eyes while Huckabee-Sanders preaches politics of hate is the answer, he not only has the answers wrong, he has the wrong test and in the wrong school.  The Golden Rule is not and never has been about institutionalized ideology, rather it’s about quite the opposite.  It’s about treating others fairly, period. End of story.

Ideology such as that Huckabee-Sanders is promoting, attempts to redefine “kindness” to mean “kind behavior towards all, as long as that person harbors like beliefs”  That’s the target in the actions taken by those protesting the actions of the baker and that of the employees at Red Hen.  It is NOT, as the media prefers, protesting the individuals, so protest is not only acceptable, protest is righteous.

Application of the Rule cannot be dependent upon one’s interpretation of faith, reality, politics, gender, skin color, culture, or any other qualifiers.  Therein lies the real enemy in this battle of misconstrued moral equivalence,  the institutions determining how, when and who to allow into the private club of humanity.  The very essence of what has driven revolutions across time and geography.

As the baker believes, so Huckabee-Sanders believes.  They both opted to represent intolerance by singling out those who don’t fit the parameters of exclusivity and exceptionalism.  So, when they receive the eire of those in opposition to self-righteous indignation, I will find no remorse in calling them too.

Perhaps I’m personalizing it too much.  Perhaps the columnists are right and we should refrain from acting when others are wronged.  Perhaps Trump apologists, and the intolerant have it right and we should see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.

Perhaps!  But, while the herd sleeps, the Tiger eats.

3 thoughts on “Red Herrings, Red Hens and Moral Equivalence

    1. I agree, to some degree. While defining morality for individuals, pale gray, extremely thin lines exist between bigotry, hegemony, and righteous indignation, making it very easy to tread wrongly on others.

      However; that line is thin and gray for individuals alone. Such a litmus test simply cannot apply to government, either as a whole, or to those who are the agents of government.

      Firstly; Sanders was not rejected as an individual, for any individual traits/beliefs. She was rejected due to Trump’s policies and her position in support and promulgation of those policies.

      The very nature of government absolutely requires us to hold them to a higher standard and level of accountability, as a whole and individual agents alike, for the power they hold gives them the ability to make changes that can have very serious implications for all.

      Their actions not only can be, they MUST be scrutinized. Government has no morality beyond what’s given them by the society they govern; our voices acting as their conscience. Given that, it’s not just acceptable to voice our opinions concerning their actions, it is indeed our responsibility to do so, at every opportunity we get.

      Secondly; when people choose direct employment within, thereby becoming agents of and acting on behalf of government, they choose to subject themselves to the collective voice of that society. Polling booths aren’t remotely sufficient, in and of themselves, for the collective to accomplish that. And this is the impetus behind constitutional rights of dissension, protest, and freedom of speech.

      We’ve all encountered this comparison before, but there truly is no better one in recent history than pre-war Germany and the silence of the German people, implicitly and/or explicitly, approving Hitler and his Nazis to not only gain power, but to use that power to commit unspeakable atrocities and to take the entire planet to war, killing hundreds of millions in the process.

      If we don’t speak out against what we see as an immoral, illegal, or inappropriate act committed by our government (and its agents), we’re simply forfeiting our collective conscience and approving everything they do.

      If Sanders, Pruitt, Trump, our local government officials, etc. don’t like being singled out in such a manner, they most certainly have chosen the wrong profession.

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