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June 29 2017

How to Do a Political Protest Right

by Charlotte Allen

After Starbucks baristas in Charlotte, North Carolina, openly mocked a female customer clad in a Trump T-shirt a couple of weeks ago, the liberal media were duly snarky, hinting that all sorts of nastiness might follow from supporters of the president.

Here’s the Washington Post: 

Some Trump supporters are calling for yet another boycott of Starbucks after one woman said she was bullied at a Charlotte store for wearing a Trump T-shirt. Kayla Hart said that when she walked into a store there last week, the baristas laughed at her. When she received her iced tea, instead of bearing her name, it was labeled “Build a Wall.”

“I just found it really sad that I can’t wear a T-shirt with our president without being made fun of,” Hart said to her local Fox station, which first reported the incident.

This isn’t the first time a Starbucks location has been threatened with boycotts from the right. 

Post reporter Maura Judkis proceeded to tie the Kayla Hart incident to a series of controversies at Starbucks that mostly didn’t involve President Trump at all but could be somehow linked to “the right”: a man who yelled, “Shut up, slave!” at two black customers and religiously motivated calls for a Starbucks boycott a couple of years ago when the chain removed Christmas themes from its holiday red cups. One incident did involve a Miami customer who claimed that Starbucks had refused to serve him because he was a Trump supporter. The “white” man (as a Post headline pointedly described him) reportedly shouted, “I voted for Trump! You lost!,” at the barista.

In the eyes of the media boycotts are good when they’re in the name of some causes (want to protest Chick-fil-A anyone?) but Very Bad when they’re for other causes. But the people who thought Kayla Hart got a bad deal didn’t boycott the Starbucks where she was insulted. Here’s what a bunch of Charlotte-area Republicans did instead:

Starting at 2 p.m., more than 50 T-shirt wearing Trump backers staged a peaceful gathering at the Dilworth coffee house, filling chairs, tables and even the parking lot at one point….

The group presented no demands. Instead, its members sought to take a stand against any business disrespecting customers based on their politics, said James Tatro, a MeckGOP board member who participated in the event.

While it has been described as a sit-in, Tatro says the crowd was made up of paying customers and not just “people who were filling chairs.”

“We wanted the staff to see that Trump supporters are just as human as anyone else,” he said. “We live in a diverse city. It’s unacceptable in a modern society to make a customer feel uncomfortable, whether it’s a liberal business mistreating a conservative customer or a conservative business mistreating a liberal customer.”

The Mecklenburg County Republican Party posted on their Facebook page that the event was “a perfect example of a peaceful political demonstration.” The party reported that participants included representatives of the MeckGOP Board, Deplorable Pride (an LGBT Republican group), Hispanics For Trump, Women For Trump and even some independent voters. Republican Rep. William Brawley of Matthews also attended, and spoke to the crowd.

Starbucks, meanwhile, has apologized for the Hart incident.

 Now that’s how to do a protest—and it’s too bad that those Middlebury students who prevented Charles Murray from speaking on campus and assaulted the professor who escorted him couldn’t have taken a leaf from the Charlotte-area Republican playbook and presented their political differences maturely and respectfully.

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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