When it's not your voice that is being silenced, when it's not your rights that are being stripped, you can be impressively philosophical about the communities who say they are.
Minority communities have always been oppressed here. They have always complained about it. It's not nice, it's just the way things are. So you can pair your nails or whistle past them. The oppressed communities and all the blaring headlines, I mean.
What blaring headlines? The ones that tell you that black people are being increasingly targeted and killed across the nation after “concerned citizens” call the cops of them, putting their lives in danger, for performing outrageous social infractions like selling bottled water to sports fans or trying to gain access to a community swimming pool or mowing some white person's lawn.
Because its not your rights under siege you can look at the growing alarm being expressed by the LGBTQ community about the dangers of the impending supreme court pick and simply sigh.
It's not your equality, not your marriage, that will fall under the renewed scrutiny of a rightward-tilting court for generations to come. It's not you that's being menaced by a new conservative Trump pick. Not yet anyway.
If you're not a woman you won't feel the sharp change in the national weather with the same sense of urgency that women's rights groups do this week. They are telling us that abortion rights could be overturned in 18 months thanks to the selection of a new right wing supreme court justice and that Roe versus Wade could be overturned.
There could soon be enough votes on the court to reverse that decision. The outcome would set women back here almost fifty years.
It's not you who is being menaced by the Trump administration plan to revoke citizenship from naturalized citizens after USCIS starts their Denaturalization Task Force. Not yet anyway.
So instead of taking to the streets, last week we were treated to an ungodly number of paternalistic white male moderates taking to their keyboards instead to write anxious press columns lamenting the terrible treatment of Sarah Huckabee Sanders at The Red Hen Restaurant.
Asking the mouthpiece of the Trump administration to leave the restaurant was un-American, they told us. Why, it was just like the lunch counter debacles in the 1960's said Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass, it violated the spirit of the Civil Rights Act!
But Sarah Sanders is a high level Trump official on an eye-popping salary, not a working class African American looking for the right to simply exist in an otherwise segregated 1960's public space.
To compare Sanders struggle to an African American's is so insulting and lopsided that it hardly merits scrutiny.
Sarah Saunders was rejected from the restaurant based on her words and her actions, because she is an enthusiastic mouthpiece of an increasingly oppressive and frankly racist regime, she was not rejected for the color of her skin.
The manager of The Red Hen took a poll of her predominately LGBTQ and Latino kitchen staff and they all voted to tell Sarah to take a hike. We pay her salary and she lies to us, they complained. She mocks our dignity and she does it with a patronizing sneer, they said. We're done taking it from her and from Trump's racist policies and tweets, they concluded. Give her the heave ho. Let her know what it feels like to be on the back heel.
The hand wringing in the press that followed, the endless talk about the loss of “civility,” was the reflex of privileged white paternalists who can't understand why the minorities have all gotten so restless suddenly. They're supposed to grin and bear it. They're not playing by the rules. Tut tut.
“The Negro’s great stumbling block to freedom is the white moderate who constantly says, “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action...who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom,” wrote Martin Luther King once, insightfully.
Take your time, take a number, wait at the back of the line and sit at the back of the bus. We will get to you eventually. That Maxine Walters, for example, she's just too much.
But what's unspoken by the moderate left is being shouted by the immoderate right now. Latinos are hearing the president refer to the undocumented as “infestations” and “invasions” and “rapists” and “animals” and they rightly understand that they are being isolated and targeted by that hateful language, just as those who oppose them are being incited by it. Nothing good will come of this. Great evil is more likely to come from it.
And women, even the white women who voted for Trump, are suddenly aware that the reproductive rights their mothers and grandmothers fought for are now suddenly under serious threat for the first time in generations.
All of them have bigger things to worry about than where Sarah Saunders dined tonight. So should you.