We live in a politically polarized time, but there ought to be some things that we can all agree on – like beer and pizza.
Finding common ground is not always easy. The owners of Stars and Stripes Brewing Co. stepped into the middle of the political mosh pit this week by first accepting and then canceling a reservation from a group called “Women for Trump” – high-profile campaign surrogates including President Trump’s daughter-in-law who are touring the region by bus.
Brad and Nancy Nadeau published a social media post Tuesday night explaining their decisions, saying that they had been misled by the campaign and did not realize that their business was going to be used as the backdrop of a political event.
“(We were) aware that some women who support Trump would be coming in for a beer,” the owners wrote. “Now seeing from the media and the press release it looks as if they were here for an agenda. We here at the brewery do not support any political agendas … .”
That might have disappointed the Trump campaign, but they were not out of a venue for very long. Later Tuesday evening, it announced that the event would be held instead at Jimmy the Greek’s pizza parlor in Old Orchard Beach instead.
That’s a resolution that should make everyone happy. But if you think that’s what happened, you are probably not spending enough time on social media.
Different groups of angry posters announced plans to boycott both businesses – Stars and Stripes for canceling the Trump event, and Jimmy the Greek’s for holding it.
Everybody needs to lighten up.
The Nadeaus know that their business name and logo is a form of speech, and they have chosen to use it to honor veterans – Brad Nadeau is a Marine who served in Iraq – and raise consciousness about the issues veterans face. They viewed the visit by the Women for Trump bus as something that would interfere with that message by making them look partisan. Included in the right to free speech is the right to say nothing, and that’s what the Nadeaus want to do when it comes to electoral politics.
The owner of Jimmy the Greek’s is also not really saying anything political by opening the doors of his business to the campaign event. The way the hospitality business has been going this year, there were probably dozens of business owners of all political stripes who wouldn’t mind the attention. And even if hosting the event were a sign of support for the candidate, so what?
Not every act has profound political importance. When this election is over, supporters of Donald Trump and Joe Biden will still have to live with each other in the same cities and towns, and we don’t need to turn every consumer choice into a defining event.
It’s an election, not a war. Sometimes pizza and beer are just pizza and beer.