Let Them Eat Crow

Let Them Eat Crow

I don’t know what all the fuss is about. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked to leave a restaurant because the owner and the staff of the restaurant didn’t want to serve her. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielson was heckled by fellow diners when she visited a Mexican restaurant. White House advisor Stephen Miller was heckled in a different D.C.-based Mexican restaurant, but you have to figure Miller gets heckled on a daily basis. It probably didn’t faze him. Selective exclusion and public shaming are the hallmarks of this administration. These staffers should be proud. Their policies have reached critical mass. Trumpian behavior is the law of the land.

Look, I’d like to live in a world where food is not a political statement. I’d like for bakers who make wedding cakes to make those cakes for all weddings. I’d like for people to be able to dine out wherever they choose and not be turned away because of their political affiliations, the color of their skin, or the religion they practice. But if we live in a world where deeply held religious beliefs are a legitimate reason to deny service, then deeply held political beliefs must be reason enough, as well. This administration fights every day for the policies of exclusion. How can they be upset when the exclusion applies to them? It’s a political victory, really. Sanders should be praising the restaurant owner who turned her away. After all, she was merely exercising her right to protect her establishment from an undesirable element. Isn’t that what this administration is all about?

If the right wants to paint immigrants as criminals, they should stop reaping the benefits of immigrant labor. That means, of course, that they won’t be eating in any restaurant in America. Nor will they be shopping at grocery stores. The food delivery system in America is held together by the work of immigrants. From the field to the factories to the kitchens, you cannot eat an immigrant-free meal. Even a deeply religious baker cannot whip up a cake untouched by immigrant hands. Sugar is brought to you by immigrants.

Without immigrants, most Americans would starve. Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Stephen Miller and Kirstjen Nielson should think carefully about where their food comes from before blithely going out for a meal. They are always talking about returning to some mythical time when America was great. Well, let them return to that time. Let them hunt and forage for food like the early settlers did. Of course, those settlers were immigrants too.

Our immigration system is overly complicated and imperfect. It needs improvement. But it boggles the mind that  a president with an immigrant wife is so dead set against immigration. And before you argue that Melania did it “the right way,” there is plenty of evidence that she skirted the law on her path to citizenship. Melania’s parents are here thanks to chain migration, a policy this administration wants to end, but Melania can’t be compelled to fight for the immigration policies that benefited her family. She’ll make a quick trip to see the children at the border, but she’ll do it while wearing a sign on her back proclaiming her apathy. So Trumpian.

Look, we can’t open our doors to pretty girls and slam them shut on desperate mothers. It isn’t right. And it isn’t fair to expect immigrants to follow in Melania’s stiletto footprints. Most immigrants are willing to do a lot of terrible jobs in an effort to gain citizenship, but many of them would draw the line at marrying a man like Donald Trump. You can’t blame them for that.

White House staffers, you need to get comfy with the idea that some places aren’t open to people like you. You fought for the right to exclude people and now you are being excluded. This is your America. Eat up. You’ve earned this.

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Tiffany Quay Tyson

THE PAST IS NEVER, a southern gothic novel steeped in local lore, is available now. The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance deemed it an Okra Pick. Tyson's debut novel THREE RIVERS was a finalist for both the Colorado Book Award for Literary Fiction and the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Award for Fiction. She was born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi and now lives, writes, and teaches in Denver, Colorado.
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