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How about that Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, Va., asking White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders and her dinner party to leave because she works for the current administration?

If that weren’t bad enough, her father Mike Huckabee later said the owner and friends then followed Sanders’ family to a nearby restaurant and continued the harassment verbally even though Sanders had already departed.

Talk about unjustified bigotry, hate and disrespect for customers coming from those who would hypocritically preach to us of tolerance and love (yet only for their views). Owner Stephanie Wilkerson and her wait staff to me present a prime example of politicized bigotry.

I chuckled when I saw Huckabee, on a TV talk program wonder if the main course at Red Hen is the “hate plate.” Adding he believed the place served “small plates for small minds.” Like him or no, our former governor has a quick wit.

It’s one thing when any establishment’s owner declines business because to do so would violate the owner’s constitutionally protected religious beliefs. It’s quite another when Americans are refused service simply because they hold a different political view than the owner. Any way you spin it, such rudeness is nasty politics.

Conversely, Sanders and her extended family (some reportedly not fans of Donald Trump) obviously was willing to financially patronize this restaurant without asking its owner or wait staff for their political or moral beliefs, as if that should matter one toothpick.

As the press secretary has shown her other obnoxious, near-hysterical detractors, she again responded graciously and flew the coop, maintaining the moral high ground despite the chicken-fried shunning.

What’s next in our “land of the free”? Will Americans who pay lip service to being so accepting and open-minded toward everyone continue to accept only those whose beliefs fall in lockstep with their own? Should we soon expect water fountains that read “No Christians or conservatives”?

The nasty divisiveness in our nation sadly has reached unparalleled levels, as evidenced by this Red Hen fiasco because the owner and staff determined Sanders (due to her job) opposed gays and transgenders.

Count me among those who believe the divisiveness in our nation has been planned and developing in precisely this way over the past nine years. The late Chicago reprobate, loser and grossly overrated “community organizer” Saul Alinsky would have been beaming.

I appreciate what Jack Schmedeman wrote to me last week, a day before the Red Hen laid its rotten egg.

“Now as to adult violent behavior,” Jack said, “the venom spewed by politicians—and the media—is poisoning our ability to hold rational discussions of issues. Congress is polarized. Over-the-top language vilifying opponents, ideas, actions is almost the norm. Public swearing by both sexes. Rude public behavior. Intolerance of people and alternate viewpoints. All of these are highly ratcheted up since my youth here in Little Rock. Society is becoming more vulgar, and we denizens in it are becoming tolerant of violence in all forms. Sad. Sad. Sad.”

About our vets

Thought I’d share this question today because, well, it just makes so darn much sense.

If we can afford to quickly erect livable tent cities and other dwellings for citizens of other nations who enter ours illegally, why can’t (and haven’t) we done likewise for our veterans, many of whom are homeless?

Well? I’ll just plop down over here in the corner and wait to hear an excuse.

Backbreaking fines

Three unsuccessful hopefuls for office had to pay fines to the Arkansas Ethics Commission for untimely filing of their campaign reports. One received a whopping $100 fine and the other two were body-slammed for $50. Ouchy! Finally, some meaningful deterrent to public service ineptitude and/or corruption!

I found myself agreeing with two online respondents to Michael Wickline’s news story detailing these transgressions.

Fayfan wrote in part, “the real criminals, the seasoned politicos, get away with embezzling millions for several years before anyone even notices. And their greasy lawyers know all the loopholes so they get off easy, but not before squandering lots more public $$$ in the judicial process … Is there any wonder public trust is at an all time low?”

JulieM chimed in: “First of all, political ethics and Arkansas have become an oxymoron. There are none. And, when they are violated, its $50 [or] $100 … Crooks in our legislature have stolen or facilitated by silence, millions being stolen from taxpayers. Our legislature apparently thinks we’re too dumb to see how phony they are. Now, they are trying to reassure us … new “ethics” rules … will fix everything and we are all so stupid we believe that … We’re not … No new rules will change a crook’s ways…We need citizen oversight of how our money is spent. Clearly, we can’t trust the ones in our State House now, and who knows if we will be able to trust future ones. Its our money, we need someone watching over it.”

Socialism still fails

For all young Americans who praise socialism as if it actually functions to benefit humanity, I’d invite you to examine the spectacular and tragic failure of the new revolutionary socialism in Venezuela.

More than a million citizens have fled their nation for lack of food and work, as well as the oppressive government control. This mass exodus of desperate people has been called record-setting for South America.

Pie-in-the-sky socialism may sound good on paper. But the philosophy has failed everywhere it’s been tried, the latest of which being this once prosperous South American nation turned squalorous by this socialistic movement.

Mike Masterson is a longtime Arkansas journalist. Email him at

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