According to Ashlie Stevens of Salon, the “rules of civility might be under revision” and “those in power – along with those who work to keep them in power – may want to carry on with their normal daily lives,” but the results of “unconscionable policies” under the Trump administration “have clearly moved beyond politics as usual.”
Stevens’ “Spitting on Eric Trump, drinking with Sarah Huckabee Sanders: Questions of civility in the Trump era” – subhead: “As we’ve moved beyond politics as usual, are the rules of polite society being rewritten?” is the latest effort by the mainstream media to excuse behaviors of their partners in partisanship on the grounds the Trump administration is so inimical to their interests that it deserves this treatment.
Stevens opens by talking about what led to this story – the incident on Tuesday night in Chicago in which an employee at a high-end drinkery spat on Eric Trump, the president’s son and executive vice president of the Trump Organization, which controls the president’s properties.
She points to Eric Trump’s reaction – a “purely disgusting act by someone who clearly has emotional problems” and that “for a party that preaches tolerance, this once again demonstrates they have very little civility.”
Does Eric Trump deserve civility? He “isn’t an elected politician,” Stevens wrote. “But as an executive vice president of the Trump Organization he’s a public face of the family business and by extension, President Donald Trump’s brand.”
Besides, all that is being redefined anyway.
“His complaint about civility isn’t the first time questions have come up about what kind of boundaries members of the public should observe when they stumble across politicians or the politically powerful in off-duty scenarios,” Stevens wrote.
There was the time when Mitch McConnell was heckled by a group of protestors after leaving a restaurant in Louisville and the time he was harassed, with his wife, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, at another Louisville restaurant.
And there was the time Sanders was kicked out of the Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, Va., because, according to Stevens, the owners said that “many members of her LGBT staff were uncomfortable serving Sanders.” And there was Kirstjen Nielsen, then head of the Department of Homeland Security, getting shouted out of a restaurant in Washington, D.C.
It always has been the rule that leaders in Washington have to go to the grocery store and restaurants and gas stations like everyone else, and when they are off duty, they generally are left alone. But when such incidents occur, the question of what happened to common courtesy arises.
It’s a valid question,” Stevens wrote. “Does the health of a civilization depend on us maintaining polite manners in order to preserve the social fabric, or does it depend on us shedding and shredding them in order to make undeniable statements?”