News broke yesterday out of North Carolina – no, not about who has to use which bathroom – but about a tow-truck driver who, upon learning his intended customer was a Bernie Sanders supporter, declined to lend his services. Why a Trump-backing tow truck driver says he refused service to a Sanders supporter. Now, Mr. Shupe had his reasons – and from a business perspective, they make sense. He’s had bad experiences of late with “socialist-minded person(s)” not paying their bills. As he put it, he’s been “Berned – with an ‘e’ not a ‘u.'” But the fact remains, he left a young woman in need of assistance – which he was especially equipped to provide – on the side of the road with an inoperable vehicle.
As soon as I saw the headline, I thought, “Oh, boy – here we go.” And right on cue – the partisans showed up brandishing either outrage or smug satisfaction, depending on their respective political camps. I thought about diving in – particularly when I saw comments re: lawsuits being thrown out there. No, what this guy did wasn’t illegal or actionable at law. (I’m not going to belabor that here.) But it was ungentlemanly and unkind. I, like many others, was reminded of Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan, and disappointed in the way Mr. Shupe chose to respond. Even more so when I read past the headline today to this excerpt:
“Something came over me, I think the Lord came to me, and he just said get in the truck and leave,” Shupe told an ABC affiliate. “And when I got in my truck, you know, I was so proud, because I felt like I finally drew a line in the sand and stood up for what I believed.”
According to Fox Carolina, Shupe identified himself as a conservative Christian who supports Donald Trump. McWade, however, told The Post that she felt he didn’t “exactly exemplify his belief.”
I’m sorry – I don’t see how those two concepts reconcile. And it saddens me that this seems to be where we are in this day and age.
It isn’t just Mr. Shupe, though – I’ve heard and seen several people championing Mr. Shupe today, chuckling over his commentary (which, granted, was clever). In fact, I heard one gentleman proudly recount a story about how just the other day, he taught a young waitress a valuable lesson. She apparently was sporting a Bernie sticker on her apron, and he engaged her in conversation over this, delving into her reasoning which appeared predominantly to center on the idea of “free college tuition” – an idea of understandable appeal to a 20 year old. The man explained to her how, of course, it isn’t really “free” – it’s being paid for by the taxpayer, which means you and me and even her – just on the back end/out of her back pocket.
It sounded as though he did a nice and somewhat thorough job of explaining that almost everything has a cost and someone has to pay. (I was with him up to that point!) But then he got to what seemed to be his punchline – she brought the bill, and to ensure she learned her “lesson,” he wrote in “$0.00” for the tip. Ha! Get it?! NOW she’ll see what “free” is! Woot! You sure showed that young lady, Mister!
Sadly, I have a sneaking suspicion the “lesson,” this waitress will take away from this encounter was that conservatives/Republicans are jerks – so why bother to listen to their ideas? Maybe not. One can hope.
I’ll be honest: I’m tired. I’m tired of people being ugly to one another – in the name of politics, or religion, or just in general. I’m tired of having to explain how the actions of people who theoretically claim the same labels as I do – “conservative,” “Christian,” – don’t represent me or those ideals. No, friends – I am most certainly not without fault. None of us are. But we can do better than this. We need to do better than this.