Gray Matters: Hating Trump doesn’t justify bullying

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I understand why some people can’t stand Donald Trump and are upset he won. The man has said offensive things and has certainly earned some measure of resentment. What I can’t understand is why people think their disdain for Trump gives them the right to bully the people associated with him. Twice in 24 hours we saw acts of disrespect and bullying that the media barely batted an eye at.

The first happened Thursday night when a French fashion designer Sophie Theallet penned an open later (which she made certain to give to the media) proclaiming that she refuses to supply or sell any clothes to future First Lady Melania Trump. Theallet can’t stand Donald so she wants to punish Melanie because apparently it’s her fault her husband thinks the way he thinks, says the things he says and tweets stupid things at 3 a.m. Here I was blaming the guy with the orange hair when it was Melania the whole time.

Theallet could have done this “Melania Ban” quietly but she made sure it was done as publicly as possible so she could maximize the effect and embarrass her the most. It’s a bit like the person in high school who announces over the P.A. system that they are having a great party this weekend and all the cool kids are invited except for you.

As bad as this was Sophie didn’t stop there. She also urged other fashion designers to refuse to dress Melania as well. In other words, lets all gang up on her. Nice.

Not so long ago I remember people and the courts getting very upset when a business refused to serve someone because they disagreed with their politics or life choices. That kind of behavior was wrong then and it’s wrong now and trying to publicly humiliate the future First Lady when she hasn’t done a single thing to you is nothing short of bullying.

The second case of bullying I’m sure you heard of; the booing of Mike Pence at a Broadway show. Again I understand why some people are opposed to his politics and policies but don’t lose sight of one simple fact. Pence wasn’t there to give a speech or do anything political, he just wanted to take his daughter to a show and sadly she had to watch people who don’t know her father boo him so loud it disrupted the performance at one point. Children love their dad and that had to hurt.

I didn’t have a problem with one of the performers addressing Pence after the show and sharing the actor’s concerns although he could have invited Pence and his family backstage and done it in private. By doing it in such a public way and then posting it online it smacked of a kind of “look at me” gesture but his message was at least respectful. The boos were not.

My father used to say if you can’t respect the person in the job you should still respect the position they hold. It just comes down to basic decency.

You’re opposed to everything the Trump/Pence ticket stands for? Hold a rally, start a voter registration drive, lobby your congressional representative to vote against them every step of the way if it makes you happy. But booing a father in front of his daughter? Going all “Mean Girl’s” on the president-elect’s wife? We’re better than this. We really are.

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