Public shaming increases political divide in the US

The public shaming of public figures associated with the Trump administration is increasingly being reported in the US. They are an insidious part of the growing political divide in the US, and deserve condemnation.

But as the public-shamer-in-chief and divider-in-chief Donald Trump must bear some of the responsibility for this.

Washington Post: The latest sign of political divide: Shaming and shunning public officials

Anger and division in American politics are creating a rising phenomenon: the public shaming and shunning of political figures while they are going about their private lives.

Few laws expressly prohibit a business from refusing service to a customer because of political views.

Within hours, millions of Americans knew that White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked to leave a Virginia restaurant Friday. She had been out for dinner with friends, the cheese course already on the table, when the owner took her aside and requested that she leave. The owner said she thinks that Sanders works for and defends an “inhumane and unethical” administration.

I think that throwing Sanders out of the restaurant was ridiculous and disturbing – and is likely to be bad for business.

Pam Bondi, the Florida attorney general who often appears on Fox News and is closely aligned with President Trump, was shouted down at a movie screening in Tampa on Friday. “You are a horrible person!” one protester screamed at Bondi. The local newspaper reported that Bondi was escorted out of the theater by police.

Hecklers shouted “Shame!” at Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, a public face of Trump’s immigration policies, hastening her departure from a Mexican restaurant near the White House last week. Protesters even posted video of that encounter on Facebook.

Trump adviser and immigration hard-liner Stephen Miller also was confronted at a restaurant last week and called a “fascist.”

Heckling and protest is an important part of an open democracy, but harassing people when going about their private lives is a concerning escalation of political vitriol in the US.

Many who disagree with the policies and tone of Trump and his administration think silence is complicity.

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) this weekend encouraged harassment of Trump officials in public spaces. She said on MSNBC that she had “no sympathy” for those serving in the administration “who know it’s wrong — what they are doing.” Waters said Trump has caused “unconscionable” damage to people and the country.

It is worse when an elected official promotes harassment, as Waters is doing.

It is worse still when the president is the most prominent and most prolific public shamer who also encourages attacks on ‘them’ who are seen to be opposed to ‘us’.

The lack of quality of top politicians in the US must be a major concern. The behaviour of the man at the top is just the worst of an highly partisan and toxic political environment, and unless Trump changes and shows takes some presidential responsibility it looks likely to get even worse.

New Zealand is not immune to this, especially as the private life of our Prime Minister is exposed more than usual due to her high profile pregnancy and birth. I have seen despicable attacks on her and her baby. I regularly see nasty attacks and demonstrations of extreme intolerance on blogs and via Twitter and Facebook.

 

 

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35 Comments

  1. MaureenW

     /  June 26, 2018

    I’m guessing Trump/Russia has about run it’s course. Calling … God

    https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2018/06/25/maxine_waters_god_is_on_our_side.html

    Reply
  2. Gerrit

     /  June 26, 2018

    Problem for the USA democracy is that having media promoting anti Trump rhetoric and now verbal and physical abuse of his supporters, the genie wont be put back into the bottle.

    The next president and his entourage, irrespective of their republican or democratic views, are going to be lambasted like never before.

    Now you can blame Trump or Clinton for starting this but it is going to be ongoing for ever more.

    Even turn violent as basically it is open season on any administrator.

    So will the USA get the best people in office? Who in their right mind would run?

    Reply
    • sorethumb

       /  June 26, 2018

      I wouldn’t put it like that. On the one hand you have nationalism and on the other open borders. The two sides are now outed – that makes the democrats look bad. Where can these nice people hide when it is realised that the welfare of the vast majority in the West relies on draconian border control?

      Reply
  3. I hate to use the slippery slope argument, but I do think these are bad precedents to set. Following from Gerrit’s comment, I think it also could lead to easier justifications for refusing service for other reasons i.e. the infamous baker refusing to create a wedding cake for a gay couple. Disagreements in opinion and beliefs would basically become the new threshold for service refusal.

    Reply
  4. sorethumb

     /  June 26, 2018

    this isn’t about “putting children in cages” or “separating them from their children”; it is about breaking the liberal consensus that (by default) the border stays porus. In other word the Utopian dream is being challenged.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  June 26, 2018

      I’ve given you a couple of upticks today because you’re sort of right & at least you’re making your points succinctly, in your own words, without quoting a lot of unnecessary, rambling interview transcripts or writings that I can’t be bothered reading.

      Reply
  5. Corky

     /  June 26, 2018

    President Trumpy deals to restaurant and the evils of liberal idiots. My guess, this restaurant will be out of business soon. Let the ‘gay’ guy workers join a dole queue.

    Reply
    • NOEL

       /  June 26, 2018

      I can’t see the relevance of this in the context of public shaming of public figures in their private life. I cant locate a tweet from the restaurant that predates Sander tweet.
      More of an own goal.

      Reply
      • Corky

         /  June 26, 2018

        ”I can’t see the relevance of this in the context of public shaming of public figures in their private life.”

        I’m sorry, Noel. I can’t help you. Not even a hint.

        Reply
    • Joe Bloggs

       /  June 26, 2018

      well this is awkward…

      Reply
  6. David

     /  June 26, 2018

    Chuck and Nancy should condemn this..aside from being disgraceful it will boomerang on the Democrats.
    If she was a Democrat spokesperson and this happened all hell would have broken loose. Democrats are blowing the women’s vote once again.

    Reply
    • Joe Bloggs

       /  June 26, 2018

      Oh bullshit! You demand civility from the Dem supporters yet refuse to require it of trump. Get over yourself.

      Reply
      • David

         /  June 26, 2018

        Joe, good to see you down in the mud with all us Trumpsters. It must have been lonely up on that moral high horse.

        Reply
  7. Patzcuaro

     /  June 26, 2018
    Reply
    • Zedd

       /  June 26, 2018

      As Mr Ts ‘official mouthpiece’.. maybe some folks think she agrees with/on the same page as him, on all matters ?
      Sign of the times…. she probably is..

      Reply
  8. Gezza

     /  June 26, 2018

    Bad move. Just bad.

    Reply
  9. Patzcuaro

     /  June 26, 2018

    The blame for this can be sheeted back to Trump. I don’t recollect the same level vitriol directed at the Obama government. Trump is a very polarizing personality who has got offside with the media. Rather than communicate with them he shouts at them.
    On top of that truth seems a foreign language to Trump, he goes beyond white lies to blatant lies.

    Reply
  10. Patzcuaro

     /  June 26, 2018

    Issues are also arising regarding the fairness of democracy in the US. This is similar to the situation which arose prior to MMP in NZ
    Both the way the Senate is set up with 2 senators per state and the effect of the Electoral College means that the rural Reuplican states have a disproportionate say in who runs the country

    Democracies must give equal value to all votes or people become disenchanted. For a democracy to function you need buy in from most voters for it to function properly.

    Reply
  11. unitedtribes2

     /  June 26, 2018

    The Dems are playing into Trumps hand on Immigration. The more historical they get the more likely it will be the only issue for the mid terms. If this turns out to be then the Republicans will win hands down. Then Trump will get his wall.

    Reply
    • unitedtribes2

       /  June 26, 2018

      I guess you will work out the historical thing yourself

      Reply
  1. Public shaming increases political divide in the US — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition

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