JVL
The Bulwark Presents
JVL in the Morning

Actually, the Red Hen Is Kicking Ass

May 15, 2019
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(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

1. Resistance

Remember the Red Hen?

It was the biggest story in the universe once upon a time. The owner of the tiny restaurant in the Shenandoah Valley politely asked Sarah Sanders to leave and Trump Nation went crazy.

Well, it’s been almost a year since the incident and despite all the death threats and the chest thumping and the protests and the insistence that the Red Hen was doomed because the Silent Majority was going to shun it or whatever . . .

Here’s the owner, Stephanie Wilkinson, giving the sit-rep:

I’ve been getting hate mail for almost a year now, ever since I asked White House press secretary Sarah Sanders to leave my Lexington, Va., restaurant . . .

Within 24 hours, the restaurant’s phone line was hacked, my staff and I were doxxed, and threats to our lives and families and property were pouring in through every available channel. Protesters colonized the streets around the restaurant. Thousands of fake Yelp reviews torpedoed our ratings, and dozens of people attempted to lock up our tables with reservations they had no intention of honoring. Pundits lamented the prospect of “red restaurants” and “blue restaurants.” In less than three days, President Trump had mocked us on Twitter.

One of the pieces of hate mail Wilkinson got read “When your treasonist hypocrite lowlife Obama took our nation into despair (for 8 yrs) we didn’t do or say the things you do. Get over it, before it’s too late! BTW, there are a lot more of us than there are of you.”

Which is kind of hysterical since Trump lost the popular vote by 3 million votes. But whatevs.

Here’s Wilkinson’s summation:

When we opened after a 10-day hiatus, our dining room was full. In the following weeks, people who had never been to the Shenandoah Valley traveled out of their way to eat with us. Hundreds of orders for our Red Hen spice blend poured in. And the love spread far beyond our door, as supporters sent thousands of dollars in donations in our honor to our local food pantry, our domestic violence shelter and first responders.

After nearly a year, I’m happy to say that business is still good. Better than good, actually. And besides the boost to our area charities, our town’s hospitality and sales revenue have gone up, too.

Our haters may have believed that there were more of “them” than of “us,” but it turns out we have more than enough to keep us cooking. And to everyone who might be fearful about taking a stand, I say don’t be. Resistance is not futile, for you or your business.

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2. All You Need Is Love

Reader J.C. (not that JC) sent me a link to this Jim Baker (not that Jim Baker) piece on why he doesn’t hate Donald Trump. It’s pretty great.

I was removed from my job as FBI general counsel after serving under Director Chris Wray for a few months. The president has tweeted and spoken about me personally, uncharitably and by name, on several occasions. Some people who support the president also have said negative things about me publicly. All of that attention impacted me negatively in numerous ways—both personally and professionally—over the past few years.

But I do not and will not respond to Donald Trump with hatred. To the contrary, I have come to believe that the best approach for me regarding President Trump—the only approach—is love. I will try to love him.

I will try to love him as a human being. I will try to love his family. And most importantly, I will try to love his supporters—all of them. Loving Donald Trump and loving his supporters is the best way for me to love America and to honor those who sacrificed so much for my freedom.

Read the whole thing.