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The Right to Refuse Service

Deborah is a writer, healer, and teacher. Her goal is to help people live their best lives every day by sharing her joy and love of life.

United We Stand

the-right-to-refuse-service

Sarah and the Red Hen

Recently (Friday, June 22, 2018, according to news reports), White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked to leave a restaurant in Lexington, Virginia.

According to the owner of the restaurant, the Red Hen, Sanders was politely asked to leave because of her work defending President Trump and his policies. A report on CNN said Stephanie Wilkinson, the Red Hen's Owner, held a press conference on Saturday morning, saying that, "This feels like a moment in our democracy when people have to make uncomfortable actions and decisions to uphold their morals."

In response, Sanders tweeted on her official White House twitter account @PressSec, "Last night I was told by the owner of the Red Hen in Lexington, VA to leave because I work for @POTUS and I politely left. Her actions say far more about her than about me. I always do my best to treat people, including those I disagree with, respectfully and will continue to do so."

You Are Not Guaranteed Service

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What Does the Law Say?

Under federal anti-discrimination laws, businesses can refuse service to any person for any reason, unless the business is discriminating against a protected class. Protected classes include discrimination based on gender, race, religion, color or national origin.

Under these guidelines, the restaurant had every right to ask Sanders to leave, as they did not cite any of these reasons.

In fact, any restaurant or business establishment can refuse to serve you, so long as they don't state that they are doing so because of your protected class. Even if you are a member of a protected class, someone could refuse you service, and not say why. They could, for example, refuse to serve me because I am a woman. But if I asked why, they wouldn't need to state that reason. They could say they are refusing service because they don't like me, or they don't like my car, or they could just say no.

But where does that leave us as a country?

We Have Divided Ourselves

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United We Stand One and All

Divided We Fall

The United States, and much of the rest of the world, has slipped into a crazy, contentious, and angry place, where reason is hotly debated and ridiculed.

In this place, where people segregate themselves to make a point, we completely disregard our own humanity.

Sanders, arguably, is getting a taste of her own medicine. Perhaps, in the real world, Sarah Huckabee Sanders is a genuinely kind and compassionate person, who internally dislikes the things she must say for her job. Perhaps in the real world, she is just a nice lady.

And yet. The federal government, for which she is a spokesperson, continues a divisive message. People are arrested and detained and divided. Lives are destroyed. Although Sanders may not personally agree with every policy put out by the White House, publicly she must speak the lines given her. And if she is a kind and compassionate person, it must eat at her gut. And her heart.

There are still people dying at the hands of reckless police officers every day. There are still anxious and angry people lashing out at others for perceived differences in color, culture and constitution. Mostly, people are lashing out because they are afraid. People use police as a weapon to destroy others, rather than as partners to serve and protect. People strike to hurt and conquer others, when the darkness they fear pursues them from the inside.

When a culture, a civilization, a nation and a world react in fear, then fear increases. When we act out of anger, then anger increases. When we act with divisive intent, then division increases.

As we divide, we weaken. Our fear and anger make us weak. From this place of weakness, we do not build a community or a country, things only continue to fall further into the abyss.

Do Something Good

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Create a Culture of Compassion

The world is a scary place. Anger and fear seem to dominate the political and cultural landscape, not only in the United States, but around the globe. People are angry, afraid and hurting.

The task ahead appears daunting. We can serve others and change to world one moment at a time. Or, we can reserve the right to refuse service to anyone, for any reason. And that, too, will change the world one moment at a time.

The truth is, we have no more rights than the rights of those we deny. When we withhold love, compassion and mercy from others, they are withheld from us. When we deny justice, truth and life to those around us, those things will be taken from us as well.

What you fear, you create. What you deny, you do not receive. Rather than seeing the world in a restrictive, limiting and fearful place, let's try a change of perspective. We each have an opportunity, in this moment, to be peace. To be love. To be compassion. To experience abundance.

Take a deep breath. As you inhale, acknowledge all the rights and opportunities abundant in your life. As you exhale, share that energy with everyone. Release rights, opportunity and abundance to others. Inhale peace, joy and compassion for yourself, then exhale those same things to everyone.

Love All. Serve All.

the-right-to-refuse-service

Loving Kindness Meditation

Change begins on a cellular level. It then moves to an individual level. Then to the community, the country, and ultimately to the entire world. One new thought, created by you, has the power to change the world.

I end every day with a lovingkindness meditation I learned from Thich Nhat Hanh. It takes several minutes, and provides an excellent opportunity to quiet the mind after a busy day. In addition, this practice allows you the space to share love with yourself and others. With our love and compassion, we can change the world.

Begin with your eyes closed, breathing deeply, noticing the breath. Then you can say the meditation out loud, or in your head. Begin the meditation with yourself. Next, think on the people you love. You can name individuals if you'd like, or think about whoever comes to mind. Sometimes I name all of my children. Sometimes I think about my children, family and friends as a general group.

Then think of people about whom you are neutral. This might include coworkers, acquaintances or people that you know but aren't friends with. In my case, I name my three ex-husbands. I don't dislike them. I feel neutral toward them. This practice, over the years, has helped me release my anger, and my victimization toward these relationships.

Next, think of your enemies. Although you might think you have no enemies, there may be people who irritate or annoy you. And, there are probably people out there who don't like you. You can meditate on them too.

Finally, as you complete the last round of the meditation, think of every one. All people. Children. Adults. Arabs. Christians. Lions. All sentient beings deserve love, peace and compassion.


The Metta Meditation

Metta (Loving Kindness) Meditation:


(Repeat several times, beginning with yourself, then people you love, people you are neutral toward, people you dislike, and ending with everyone.)

May I be peaceful, happy and light, in body, mind and spirit.

May I be safe and free from injury.

May I be free from anger, affliction, fear and anxiety.


After you say all three lines, using the word "I", then start over, using the names of people you love, continue until you are meditating on all sentient beings.



Guided Metta Meditation

A Final Call to Action

What we think, we are. What we do, we become. In each moment, we have an opportunity to start over, to think a fresh thought, to see the world anew, and to share love one more time.

Change begins first in thinking. Next, let our words and our thoughts reflect our internal condition of love, peace and compassion. When thinking and speaking are shared, we then begin to act from a place of peace, love and compassion. When our thoughts, words and deeds are harmonious, then we are living the truth of who we really are. With that, you can change the world.

Namaste, friends

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

Comments

Deborah Demander Reno (author) from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD on June 29, 2018:

@TSAD,

I agree that the common strategy is to tell only part of the story, in order to create your own reality. People do it all the time. With the current bias of the media, it is unlikely that the President will ever get credit for his accomplishments. Instead, the focus, unfortunately, will remain on the misinterpretation of those who create the news to suit their own purposes.

Thanks for commenting.

Namaste

Deborah Demander Reno (author) from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD on June 29, 2018:

@bradmasterOCal,

Thanks for the well thought and clearly elucidated comments.

I'm not really picking a side on anything, other than the side of peace. My message in life, in general, is that peaceful, intelligent discourse is much more productive than divisive, angry rhetoric.

The one point I must disagree with you on is when you state that I have chosen a side and it is wrong.

You are welcome to your opinion. In my opinion, people can choose whatever side they want. I don't believe one is right and one is wrong. It is what they have chosen. It may not be the best option to reflect how they want to show up in the world, but they are not wrong because of that.

In life, people make decisions and choices. Far be it from me to tell them they are wrong. It may not be the best choice. But it is their choice, whatever it is, and they will suffer the consequences (or benefits) of their chosen path.

Even when I don't agree, I don't consider a person's decision "wrong".

Of course, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and I appreciate your comments.

Take care

Deborah Demander Reno (author) from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD on June 29, 2018:

@Peggy Woods, Those are very wise words indeed. The Golden Rule should really be taught (and practiced) by everyone. It would sure avoid a lot of trouble.

Thanks for your comments!

Namaste

The Logician from now on on June 28, 2018:

We'll said Brad, but when people are bombarded daily by the media with lies and deception about Trump making issues of biased interpretations of what he says or does while totally ignoring his accomplishments, the whole story, as you say, never is told. And that's the strategy, a strategy based on deception and targeting ignorance.

Brad on June 28, 2018:

Deborah

Shouldn't it be first Wyoming, then the US, and then the World?

----

You didn't tell the whole story. They sued the baker and they won. It was the Supreme Court that reversed their win.

I am sorry but your message in this article has been clouded by your picking a side, and it is the wrong side.

"Sanders, arguably, is getting a taste of her own medicine"

B:

This is you clearly picking sides. And what has she done? You don't say.

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Perhaps, in the real world, Sarah Huckabee Sanders is a genuinely kind and compassionate person, who internally dislikes the things she must say for her job. Perhaps in the real world, she is just a nice lady.

B:

Even when she does her job, she is a lady. Unlike the press corp that needs to learn some manners.

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And yet. The federal government, for which she is a spokesperson, continues a divisive message

B:

What is this divisive message, and where does it come from. The people that are Anti Trump and don't do their job in congress, as they have made their job one of simply resisting the president of the US. Is that why they were elected to congress.

Trump didn't create the government, he just inherited it from those that have made government what it is today. He is trying to change the government. It is the Anti Trumper that is making the divisive actions.

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. People are arrested and detained and divided. Lives are destroyed.

B:

This is the law that both GW Bush and Barack Obama executed during their two terms as president, and no one cared. President Trump has continued to call on congress to change the immigration system, and they don't seem to be interested in doing that. They would rather use it as a bully stick to beat up the president. Remember, he just inherited this mess. And the illegal alien parents should also be given the blame for taking their kids with them when they commit a crime. And some of these parents let the kids go through on their own with accompanying them. These are irresponsible parents, that if they were Americans on American soil would have had social services take away their kids because of child endangerment. These parents knew the risk, and they knew they would be separated from their kids when they got caught. Yet, they still did it anyway. As far as doing it for asylum, they could go to the port of entry, and make their claim. They wouldn't be arrested, and they wouldn't be separated from their kids.

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Although Sanders may not personally agree with every policy put out by the White House, publicly she must speak the lines given her. And if she is a kind and compassionate person, it must eat at her gut. And her heart."

B:

If you are going the Ghandi route, then don't pick a side, it is inconsistent with loving everyone

I only used part of your article to show you how you don't tell the whole story..

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Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on June 28, 2018:

I liked your overall message of loving all sentient beings. Politics...no matter which side one takes...really seems to rile people up these days. Your method of meditating is good advice. Also remembering the Golden Rule would help when dealing with everyday situations.

Deborah Demander Reno (author) from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD on June 27, 2018:

@TSAD, You make an interesting point about the Little Red Hen, one of my favorite childhood books. Thanks for sharing that theory.

Namaste

Deborah Demander Reno (author) from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD on June 27, 2018:

@Carolyn Fields, Thanks for the additional information. I was not aware of that. It is unfortunate that people feel inclined to harass others.

I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment on the article.

Namaste

Deborah Demander Reno (author) from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD on June 27, 2018:

@BradmasterOCcal, I agree that the baker should have the right to refuse service to anyone, for any reason. I'm not sure how I'm not telling the full story.

They sued and lost, which only strengthens the statement that business owners have the right to refuse service.

When you tell a story, you get to tell your story. I believe I did that. Thank you for taking the time to read and to respond.

Wish you all the best.

Namaste

Deborah Demander Reno (author) from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD on June 27, 2018:

@Mary Norton,

Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on this article. I have trouble watching politicians anymore. It all feels so fake.

Namaste

Deborah Demander Reno (author) from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD on June 27, 2018:

@FlourishAnyway, Thank you. To create a peaceful world, we have to start with ourselves. I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment on this article.

Namaste

The Logician from now on on June 26, 2018:

I find it quite interesting that while people like the owner of the red hen are probably screaming ”trump colluded with Russia” while The Little Red Hen is an old folk tale of the fable type of Russian origin. The story is applied in teaching children the virtues of work ethic and personal initiative which Trump’s life exemplifies. I think she should change the name of her restaurant!

Carolyn Fields from South Dakota, USA on June 26, 2018:

If the owner of Red Hen had just refused service, and left it there, that would be one thing. But she didn't. She followed Sarah's family to the next restaurant they went to, and incited an angry mob to harass them. That's just not right. Time and place.

"Gov. Mike Huckabee says the owner of the Red Hen in Lexington, Virginia followed his daughter’s dinner party to another restaurant where they bullied and harassed the diners."

Read the rest of the article here:

https://www.toddstarnes.com/show/mob-rule-red-hen-...

Brad on June 25, 2018:

You are right, but what about the case that you didn't mention. When the gay people wanted a bakery to make their wedding cake. When the baker refused based on religious beliefs, the gays sued and won. And it wasn't overturned until the SCOTUS decided.

If you tell a story, it should be the full story.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on June 25, 2018:

You are right. We need love, peace and compassion and to show this in our everyday dealings with people. I read about this article and to be honest, I no longer watch politicians or their spokesperson. I'd rather go and do the meditation you recommend here.

FlourishAnyway from USA on June 25, 2018:

This was very peace loving.

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