As most people probably are aware, the latest trend among the crazies on the political left is to enter a restaurant and harass Republicans who are members of the Trump administration cabinet. Or the victims may be senators or congressmen who have voted in a way the anarchists didn’t like.
More often than not, the lefties will surround a particular Republican and his or her spouse and scream and yell expletives at them until their targets are forced to leave. Amazingly, sometimes a restaurant owner will even take the side of the screamers. For instance, the owner of the Red Hen Restaurant in Virginia asked White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders and her family to leave because “Trump supporters aren’t welcome here.”
It’s not only restaurants, but this behavior takes place at airports, on elevators and even at Republicans’ homes. They are obviously following the “leadership” of California Congresswoman Maxine Waters, who has encouraged her supporters to trespass in order to harass members of the Trump cabinet.
When I first heard about protesters harassing somebody in a restaurant, I thought that nobody with any decency could possibly believe this is a good idea. But then I saw a couple of Democratic Party operatives interviewed on television, and they gleefully said this was all about free speech and the fact that the targets are “public officials.” To his credit, Democrat Senate leader Chuck Schumer has condemned this type of behavior.
I also thought that we settled the rules for public accommodation a long time ago with the 1964 Civil Rights Act. I thought that with rare exception, restaurants must serve anybody. (There can be requirements such as patrons must wear shirts and shoes, or neck ties, as an example.)
Apparently there was a loophole in the law. While you can’t discriminate against anybody on the basis of race or gender, you can discriminate on the basis of political affiliation. However, why any restaurant would basically want half the population to stay away from their place of business is a big mystery to me.
I began to ponder whether it is legal to enter a restaurant and yell and scream at somebody you don’t like, especially when there are 10 or 12 of you and only Sen. Ted Cruz and his wife at the dinner table. Leftist advocates, including CNN’s Don Lemon, say yes because restaurants are public places. But restaurants also are private property.
I have done some research on the subject, but haven’t found much, possibly because this is a recent phenomenon. The Federalist publication, however, says that invading restaurants to harass political opponents is illegal and harms innocent bystanders.
“Invading a private business to scare a person into leaving, regardless of intention, is trespassing and targeted harassment,” it said. “This forceful group effort not only endangers the targeted individual, but also every staff member and patron who has nothing to do with the angry mob’s hostile gripes.”
The Federalist further states that restaurants — whether high-class or fast food — are not public venues to which all people are welcome. They are private businesses that specialize in hospitality. “Front door security is generally not present, as that negates a warm inviting tone,” the article stated.
Further, many restaurants pride themselves on protecting their patrons’ identities while they dine in their establishment. However, most employees are not trained to physically block trespassers from barging through the dining room and screaming at a guest.
At least some restaurant owners are beginning to counteract such tactics. I’m trying to be nonpartisan on this, but the truth is that I know of only one case in which a right-wing group has harassed somebody in a restaurant. There may have been more. A white nationalist group was guilty of this, and the owner asked the hecklers to leave, and they did. The same thing happened at the restaurant where Ted Cruz and his wife were dining, but the crazies wouldn’t leave, so the Cruz couple did.
Unfortunately, if this harassment trend continues, somebody inevitably is going to get injured. Either the protesters will go too far, which has almost happened several times, or the victims will strike back. And who will the injured person sue? It could be the restaurant owner for “failing to protect their patrons.”
I hope the restaurant owners will start calling the police immediately when an altercation begins, to protect their patrons and their own liability.