In Ashville, North Carolina, tow truck driver Ken Shupe arrived on the scene to find motorist Cassy McWade standing by her accident-disabled vehicle on Interstate 26. “He goes around back and comes back and says ‘I can’t tow you,” Wade told a reporter. “My first instinct was there must be something wrong with the car. And he says, ‘No, you’re a Bernie supporter.’ And I was like wait, really? And he says, ‘Yes ma’am,’ and just walks away.”
“Something came over me, I think the Lord came to me, and he just said get in the truck and leave. 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.”
A few quick points and then I’ll get to the real issue:
1. Shupe is an utter, virulent, IQ-deficient jerk whose conduct and attitude makes a mockery of whatever faith it is cursed to have him belonging to it, and constitute a blight on the society, community,culture and nation so unfortunate as to be stuck with him.
2. News reports make a big deal out of the fact that McWade is confined to a wheelchair. Ah: the theory is that we are only obligated to help our handicapped neighbors in need, is it? It shouldn’t matter if she was an Olympic medalist in the 50 yard dash. You don’t treat other human beings like that in any society that values human rights and common decency.
3. Shupe’s company is Shupee Max Towing in Traveler’s Rest, South Carolina. Nobody in their right mind should patronize this unAmerican creep, including his own family. This was anti-social, cruel and objectively horrible behavior toward someone in need, and Shupe needs to be shunned, hard. If he can’t co-exist with others any better than this, he needs to live in a cave somewhere, because he’s not fit for human association.
4. To anticipate an objection: you may ask how it is that I can argue that friendship should outweigh political differences and advocacy of unethical conduct, and yet designate Ken for ignominy and rejection. If Ken were a friend of mine, I can see myself standing by him even after this miserable behavior. But, as Samuel L. Jackson tells John Travolta in “Pulp Fiction,” “We’d have to be talkin’ about one charming motherfucking pig.”
In a way, however, we should be grateful to Ken Shupe, who has provided in short order and timely fashion a near perfect example of the society-wrecking virus being actively spread by irresponsible zealots on both ends of the political spectrum who are determined to divide the nation and the culture as never before. Yes, never before. During the American Civil War, generals on opposite sides of some of the most bloody battles ever fought arranged to meet and exchange pleasantries, because they had been, and remained, friends. They understood what the self-righteous tow-truck operator, and, increasingly, our entire society, doesn’t.
Yes, Ken Shupe is far from unique, and his rank ranks are increasing. A few days ago, I wrote about Slate’s Isaac Chotiner ‘s essay asserting that people should end friendships with anyone who supports Donald Trump. Chotiner would object to Shupe’s actions, I’m sure, because he believes that only those who support candidates he opposes are unfit for affection, companionship, tolerance and loyalty. Abandoning a woman who supports the virtuous Bernie Sanders is madness, just madness.
Meanwhile, in North Carolina, it is legally sanctioned “religious freedom” to fire a gay employee because he or she is gay, and you can now refuse to sell a gay couple Cheez-Its for their wedding reception if you regard doing so as “participating” in their disgusting, marriage-destroying, sinful ritual.
Go ahead: Explain to me the subtle distinction between leaving a woman stuck by the side of a highway because she has a Bernie sticker on her car, and telling a couple to buy cakes, pâté or a flower arrangement for their wedding reception elsewhere because you disapprove of their likely activities on their wedding night.
Hint: There isn’t any.
The password, my friends, is HATE, and it is being validated and celebrated in the culture above traditional American values like community, cooperation, mutual respect, personal liberty, loyalty, tolerance and fairness. Ken Shupe is the inevitable result of talk radio hosts calling progressives “libtards” and left-wing bloggers referring to Republicans as “repugs.” He is the product of website commenters deriding the President as “Obummer,” and MSNBC hosts calling for someone to shit in Sarah Palin’s mouth.
The truck driver’s smug and sick attitude was forged by elected officials and public figures who demanded that a police officer be tried for his life because he was white when he defended himself in the line of duty, by college students and administrators who enabled them as they demanded “safe spaces” (a.k.a. “segregation”) because white students make them the targets of microaggressions, and by institutions that shame and isolate students and faculty for unpopular views on guns, abortion, illegal immigration, and affirmative action.
If Ken Shupe was on Facebook, he undoubtedly read posts from “friends” announcing that those daring to express support for an unfavored party or candidate would find themselves friendless. Maybe he visited restaurants giving special benefits to customers who appear to embrace the owner’s religion, or those that make it clear that only Republicans and Second Amendment supporters are welcome, because anyone else will be insulted by what they see hanging on the walls.
Partyism is just another form of bigotry, just one that isn’t illegal.
The United States is predicated on the concept of open political advocacy and freedom of expression, neither of which is worth John Nance Garners’ bucket of warm spit if we face being left in a ditch because of the candidate we support. With a likely race between Clinton and Trump developing like a toxic spill, the corrosive behavior modeled by Ken Shupe–and North Carolina, and Isaac Chotiner—is likely to get worse, and I don’t know how much “worse” our suffering sense of community can stand.
Each of us has an ethical duty to do whatever we can to stop and reverse this dangerous trend.
We also have a duty to help neighbors who get stranded on the highway, no matter what the bumper stickers on their cars say.
32 thoughts on “Do We Really Want To Live In A Society Where Tow-Truck Drivers Refuse To Tow The Cars Of Bernie Sanders Supporters?”
A minor correction, Jack, before I make my comment. This happened in North Carolina, not South Carolina. Having grown up in the Palmetto State, I’ll explain that Traveler’s Rest SC is a small town near the state line that’s part of the larger market across the border in NC.
As for the tow truck driver, the coverage I’ve read quotes him as being a self-professed “conservative Christian”. I’d relish the chance to ask him where in the Scriptures Christ says to ignore those in need, or when the parable of the Good Samaritan stopped being an exemplar for how Christ wanted His followers to act?
Ugh. The dateline was South Carolina, and the tow truck came from South Carolina, and the news report just said “Asheville.” I guess I should know my Carolina geography. I’ll fix it.
What an excellent post, Jack. Thank you. I’ve shared to Facebook.
In all fairness to Shupe, he does go on to say that he’s had problems with 2 other Bernie supporters over paying the bill, and he doesn’t want to do business with that mindset. It wasn’t a straight-up case of he saw the sticker and that was it simply because he hates Sanders. One thing that’s conspicuous by its absence here is any mention of freedom of association – I would hate to think that once you are open for business your right to associate or not associate with whoever disappears. It already disappears IF it’s on the basis of certain protected characteristics. In NJ I can’t refuse to serve you in my diner because you are a gay couple (I can in PA, their law against discrimination doesn’t cover orientation). Nationwide I can’t refuse to serve you because of your color, even if you clearly can’t afford what I’m selling. It shouldn’t disappear altogether.
The question of what’s on the walls is frankly no one’s business but the owner’s. If I’m running a diner by the airport called “The Long Patrol” in what was formerly a hangar, or a sandwich shop by the waterfront called “Sub Base 41,” it shouldn’t surprise you if the décor is in keeping with the setting. You don’t get to tell me to take down my signed picture of Paul Tibbets or my framed Subron 14 patch because you’re a peaceful person and you don’t like them.
Yes, I’ve read the memes about “get off my page” if you don’t agree with me, and I’ve done just that occasionally, I don’t need the constant shrill bs intruding into my feed. I’ve kicked a few people off my own page when they wouldn’t shut up about causes I don’t agree with (or just wouldn’t shut up period). I’ve been kicked off a few pages because I dared to challenge someone. This very morning I posted that this is going to be the kind of campaign that makes enemies come to blows, breaks friendships, and causes family members to stop talking to each other.
It’s not about hate, it’s about passion, and this is going to be the kind of campaign where people get passionate. When people get passionate they say things they might not normally say. When people get passionate they can’t get past the fact that their niece supports that dirtbag who looks like William Kuntsler’s reanimated corpse and sounds like Jackie Mason shouting in your ear, or that their neighbor supports that orange loudmouth with bad hair from NYC whose third wife looks like she was carved from plastic. When people get passionate they do things they normally might not do, like walk right past someone with a bumper sticker from the other side and sneer or refuse help.
However, there is usually a price to be paid for getting passionate. It’s your right not to patronize businesses that act jerky, or call online for a boycott. It’s your right to tell a relative who said something out of line to go pound salt at the holidays or when they need something. It’s your right to end a friendship if it goes south. It’s also this woman’s right to report this tow truck guy to the appropriate authority and try to get his license yanked. These things all go with freedom of association and they are the price we pay for living in a free society of imperfect people.
Obummer is acceptable, as Obama is in a leadership position.
Insulting the rank-and-file is poor propaganda.
Donald Trump is the front-runner because he found that there is an untapped market of Republican voters seeking their own safe spaces ® ˜.
I explained the general principles in this comment
Do you agree with those general principles? if so, how do they apply to this situation.
“Obummer” is constitutionally protected, but it is marginalizing by name-calling. This is what Trump does all the time. The President and the office should be respected even while delivering the harshest criticism (or alleged praise, “my nigga.”
They don’t. Towing is a service, not a public accommodation, so Ken can’t be prosecuted. I agree that making a special, custom cake is an expressive act and can’t be compelled. I also would say that refusing to bake one is the act of a mean-spirited jerk.
Trying like the dickens to find SOMETHING to say in defense of Shupe. I can’t. It is absolutely his right to do this, but it is, conversely, my right to think he is an insensitive, un-Christian, antagonistic jerk as well. To quote from his own Bible, “If you have done it for this, the least of my brethren, you have done it unto me.” That was Jesus who said that, and for a Christian, you’re not going to find a much better role model.
“Go ahead: Explain to me the subtle distinction between leaving a woman stuck by the side of a highway because she has a Bernie sticker on her car, and telling a couple to buy cakes, pâté or a flower arrangement for their wedding reception because you disapprove of their likely activities on their wedding night.”
Depending on the locale involved, someone stranded by the side of the road might be left in considerable danger.
I seem to recall a lawsuit against AAA some years ago. A man’s daughter had car trouble, called AAA, the driver showed up. By that time, she’d met the acquaintance of a couple of men who’d offered to give her a lift so she told the AAA driver that she was fine and didn’t need his help. He left.
She ended up murdered. The father sued AAA because the driver should have, I guess, helped the daughter against her will or something? I never found out the resolution of the case. But, it just seems to me that there are dangers inherent in being a stranded motorist that someone trying to buy a cake or hire a caterer probably won’t have.
Moral Luck and Consequentialism, I know. No intent to be obnoxious here. Just considering why some people would be more upset about a woman stranded by a tow truck driver.
Oh, clearly the conduct is worse, but the ethical breach is the same: “Otherizing” a human being, to their detriment.
Why is that people think saying that God is talking to them makes their actions acceptable?
If we change who they say was talking to them , they would seem delusional, but leave it as some mystical man in the sky and its ok?
“Something came over me, I think the EASTER BUNNY came to me, and he just said get in the truck and leave. 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.”
“Something came over me, I think the GREAT PUMPKIN came to me, and he just said get in the truck and leave. 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.”
“Something came over me, I think MY DOG SAM came to me, and he just said get in the truck and leave. 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.”
Excellent point. I think that the error in judgment involves history. There are notable persons who claimed that God spoke to them, and the results of their acting upon that claim were arguably positive (not always to the person who heard the disembodied voice). Joan of Arc comes to mind immediately. Hmm. Maybe she’s the only one.
Not Pat Robertson?????
Why, yes, Pat Robertson does in fact hear God’s voice – it’s just that between God telling him to stop acting like a fool and breaching stupid things, he twists it up in his demented mind and ends up saying more and more stupid things. The man is truly an embarrassment, but I guess there is plenty of money to be made in the service of the Lord.
Erm . .. That should be “preaching” stupid things. But I do like the unintended consequences of using “breaching” stupid things. It has potential.
Thank you, John! I needed something to get my heart started this morning, and this was it.
It’s so much easier to hate then to try and understand =\
Leaving aside the right to be a jerk this guy’s actions clearly identify him as a jerk. I don’t recall the last time a tow truck driver refused to tow a car based on politics. I mean, sheesh. What’s a guy gotta do to get tow around here? Sign a loyalty oath or something? Just incredible.
I probably should have mentioned the various mayors and governors, Democrats, just coincidentally, that have proclaimed that those opposing gay marriage were nor welcome in their cities and states.
In all the years — about forty, I think — during which I wore backpacks whereon buttons could advertise my positive preferences (social, political, philosophical or just amusing, never sports since I wasn’t suicidal), I never thought of removing one unless it was outdated for one reason or another. People often commented (that was part of the pleasure of it unless I was late to work) as either just a passing acknowledgement pro or con, or as an invitation to an argument. If the latter, I turned it to discussion as far as possible and usually succeeded, even if it meant one of us getting off the bus or the elevator with the other, or standing with a group on a street corner or at a park bench, and twice that I can remember adjourning to a nearby eatery for several hours.
Usually, people were satisfied just to state their preferences (“sharing” was big — a few jump in front of me or turn their backs so I could view their statements). More often than not and usually with tourists (or out-of-state, especially in small towns) there was an exchange of views, even if just for a few minutes, with those who were more curious than aggressive. The plus side was gathering acquaintances whom I ran into regularly, exchanging greetings or insults of the friendlier kind. Verbal aggression, yes, nearly always from fringe religious groups; physical threats only from very old people (…never understood that) and those clearly with psychological problems. I don’t know if I changed any minds, but I do know I set several people to thinking, and they did the same for me. [if they hadn’t, I probably wouldn’t be posting here now]
So why mention this here? Because I read Jack’s post shortly after it went up this morning and realized there were no current political posters up in any windows. Not one; not in my neighborhood, not in any neighborhoods I passed on the many buses I rode each day. Nor do I remember hearing any of the deliberately louder-than-normal voices raised in unnaturally frequent mention of candidates names during an election year. Religious rants are either absent from their usual haunts or lower key than usual.
But I’d seen posters up a few weeks ago in a friend’s home. So I called him. He called back awhile ago and said they’d had a rock through that particular front window so they thought better of putting the poster up again; said he’d email after work. He did email at lunchtime: “The kids were playing by the window. You could see from the sidewalk. Same thing with the ____’s”
I don’t need to hear any further. It reminds me strongly of another time … in another country. Across the Bay, the same but different: BLM rules and the rest of the population of a county of 1.57 million, including dissenting black people, are virtually silenced. In the end, it doesn’t matter what is being said by the leader or would-be or who just jokingly, accidentally became one: it’s their followers who do the damage. I am also predicting the strong possibility that it will make no difference how the national election comes out: this country is going to have to deal with the madness unleashed.
Comment of the Day, Pennagain…thanks.
Oh, there’s going to be madness long before that, you mark my words. Cleveland better batten down the hatches, it’s going to make the Nika riots look tame,
Afraid you’re right. Call out the National Guard and deal very harshly with these thugs. What happened in Costa Mesa is a small sample of what will happen in Cleveland.
I understand Seattle SCHEDULES their riots, now. Every May 1st.
I guess Kasich is going back home to act as governor, just in time. I too am dreading political partyist violence in Cleveland this summer. Oh what the hell, I haven’t been in a good rumble for a long time now, so maybe I’ll just plan on being in Cleveland and doing some of “the Lord’s work” myself…
“The Lord came to me and said, ‘You remember the story of the Good Samaritan? You know how the Samaritan wasn’t even getting paid to help the injured man, and this is your actual job? Well, never mind that. It’s all bupkiss. Get in the truck.’”
In all seriousness, if people don’t know how to discuss ideas they don’t like, then violence or simple passive-aggressiveness is the only way they know how to deal with things that contradict their ideology and make them feel emotionally threatened. They can’t work through a tough intellectual and philosophical problem with someone, so they make the other person’s life miserable until they agree. For the good of the world. It’s okay, because they’re right and the other person is wrong.
I’m currently reading an excellent web novel called Floating Point by Stefan Gagne which takes place in a computerized world of sapient programs that are very much like humans, but with some aspects of their lives very different. One of the major themes is that people need to actually listen to and try to understand different points of view instead of pushing back with whatever weapons they know how to use. Since their world basically equals the Internet, this theme is very easy to track across situations representative of real world issues. Not only that, but it’s also excellent literature in every respect. I’m putting it on the recommended reading list for my cultural movement.
But just for fun and to expand upon Jack’s point that this sort of behavior has infected both ends of the political spectrum, suppose the woman had a Trump sticker on her bumper and had broken down on the Interstate outside Santa Cruz, California and a lefty tow truck operator (I’m sure there are many around Santa Cruz) refused to tow her. Can you imagine the unbridled glee in reporting on the story at “Salon” or “The Huffington Post” or “The New Republic?”
“During the American Civil War, generals on opposite sides of some of the most bloody battles ever fought arranged to meet and exchange pleasantries, because they had been, and remained, friends.”
They don’t call it a civil war for nothing.
…Sorry, it needed to be said.
I agree, and I’ll e-mail you the address where you can send the return gift for that set-up. Call me Bud Abbott, if you like. I earned it.