I’m not a big fan of Donald Trump and I’m certainly not a Trump apologist, but the hypocrisy, bias, manipulation, and outright lies the media has not only allowed and made socially acceptable, but propagated about him, his family, and his campaign are so vicious and overblown that I feel the need to defend him publicly…which angers me enormously.
Designer Sophie Therrault, who has dressed Michele Obama for the last eight years, has stated she will never dress Melania Trump, and has urged fellow designers to follow suit. She stated, in part:
I am well aware it is not wise to get involved in politics. That said, as a family owned company, our bottom line is not just about money. We value our artistic freedom and always humbly seek to contribute to a more humane, conscious and ethical way to create in this world.
As one who celebrates and strives for diversity, individual freedom, and respect for all lifestyles, I will not participate in dressing or associating in any way with the next First Lady. The rhetoric of racism, sexism, and xenophobia unleashed by her husband’s presidential campaign are incompatible with the shared values we live by.
Good for you, putting your money where your mouth is. It’s absolutely your right to choose with whom you’ll do business, and you have every right to speak out in support of your beliefs as owner of said business. As stated, you “value [y]our artistic freedom and always humbly seek to contribute to a more humane, conscious and ethical way to create in this world.” We can all agree with that sentiment, yes?
No, sadly we cannot all agree. People in the Therrault camp, possibly Sophie herself, insist that business owners, in fact, do not have that right, and must be severely punished by the government, for exercising their artistic freedom in furtherance of their beliefs, by withholding service that falls within the context of their belief system; through their moral superiority, however, they sincerely think they have the right, but others do not. Ms. Therrault’s commitment to “celebrate and strive for diversity” does not extend to the realm of thought or belief, unless the beliefs in question correspond with hers.
In other words, it’s socially acceptable and even laudable to refuse service to a political opponent, but it is bigotry to refuse service for a social event which furthers a lifestyle outside of one’s personal belief system. This, Ms. Therrault, is the hypocrisy of the left on full display, and one of the principle reasons half of the country voted for Mr. Trump.
Sophie, I seriously doubt that the Trumps care one iota whether or not you offer them your products; Michele Obama sometimes shone, fashionably speaking, and at other times, definitely did not, and I couldn’t say if you were involved in the failures or not — and also I really don’t care. If you are choosing to make a stand, I’m all for it, but you should also be prepared to stand for everyone else’s right to make the same decision to stand on their personal creeds. What’s good for the goose must be equally good for the gander, and it’s what makes those rights so incredibly important to our country.
As an immigrant to the country, perhaps you’re not well versed in the freedoms Americans are so proud of, that they would rather die than abdicate these liberties. For example, I don’t wish for you to sell your wares to anyone to whom you do not feel comfortable selling, just as I don’t expect an African American designer to create a dazzling robe for a Ku Klux Klan gathering, a Jewish baker to make a masterpiece for a neo-Nazi group, or a Muslim photographer to put together an album for an LGBTQ wedding. Riddle me this, Ms. Therrault, why then do you and your minions think that Christians should be exempt from that right? Why does it make sense to you that bakers, photogs, and pizza makers should lose their businesses and livelihoods because they refuse to use their “artistic freedom” to create a custom-ordered product or service, for an event contrary to their conscience? After all, in each case over these last years, these businesses were perfectly willing to sell their ready-made products to everyone equally, but only wished not to be forced to relinquish their “artistic freedom” in the case of a custom order. We refer to the ready-made in your line of work as “off the rack”, and frankly, I think it’s your right to restrict those sales as well if you choose. The Constitution offers everyone the same individual right, not to be forced into slavery under the auspices of government regulation. Yes, it’s slavery when the government takes away a person’s choice in the matter.
The free market is the only fair system of business; each business operating as it wishes, and the market responding accordingly. If Business A refuses service to Jews, and Business B does not, consumers then vote with their dollars. The people of this country would overwhelmingly support Business B over Business A, and eventually, Business A will fail for lack of commerce. The same premise is inherent to any business which chooses to restrict service from any political, religious, racial, or social group.
Personally, I’d use my dollars to support a different designer than you, Ms. Therrault, because of your smug arrogance and misplaced belief in your own moral superiority. You think you’re better than half of the people in our country and have stated so. I support both your right to do as you will, and my right to buy elsewhere; my support is largely spurious, of course — I don’t expect to earn, at any time, enough in a year to purchase a custom design from you or any other designer, and that is of no consequence to me. Pish posh.
I’m all for speaking your mind against hate and injustice — it’s the American way, you know… freedom of speech, first Amendment, Bill of Rights, founders. Some people, however, seem to think they are the only ones that should have that right, and that’s where we part company.
Each of us has the right to speak, work, and live in the way we see fit. We all have the right to disapprove of another’s lifestyle; we don’t have the right to harass, bully, threaten, assault, or kill them.
Too many want to change the boundaries set forth in our Constitution because they feel offended, traumatized, sad, or angry, but emotion is not the threshold, nor should it be.
There is a fundamental reason why the founders protected freedom of speech in the very first Amendment…it protects the right to dissent from the government and speak freely on any subject. We all have the right to offend, just as we also have the right not to listen, and not to support those whose speech or lifestyle offends our proclivities. Americans, however, do not, and never have had, the right to be free of offensive speech. The fact that so many feel otherwise speaks to a severe drought of competent instruction in the history and civics of our government.
It’s not just you, Ms. Therrault, who espouses such hypocrisy; it’s flows through our media, our government, our social media, and our entertainment. Until and unless this is corrected, your ilk will continue to ban what you deem unacceptable, only to feel victimized by the free expression of thought and ideas in the political sphere where our votes count every bit as much as yours.