People Behaving Badly In Publix
Maybe it was the heat. After all, it was 89 degrees Friday in Mableton, GA. But it was more likely the political climate.
Whatever the cause, a state lawmaker with 15 items jumped into the 10-items-or-fewer express line at her local Publix. And a shopper with just three items called her out for it.
Given the national mood, what happened next was sadly predictable.
Rep. Erica Thomas went on Facebook Live when she got home, tears streaming, as she recalled how a white man had cursed at her and told her to “go back” to where she came from.
“People are really getting out of control with this white privilege,” she sobbed, dabbing at her eyes with a tissue.
Naturally, since it fed an anti-Trump narrative, the national media orgiastically covered the story, without bothering to fact check it.
You’d think the press would be skeptical by now. But they’re not. I’m going to blame that on all the crusty old newsroom editors being laid off or fired. The guys who’d screw up their faces when reporters brought them a story that was too good to be true. The cranky pros who would send reporters back over and over to ask more questions.
No one sends reporters back anymore. And it shows.
Clearly Thomas never expected her adversary to come forward to dispute her account after it went viral. Shoot, Thomas was on her way to full-blown celebrity/victim status when he did. Democratic hopefuls Beto O’Rourke and Bill de Blasio had already Tweeted their support and blamed Trump for the confrontation. Thomas even had her own hashtag: #istandwitherica
But Eric Sparkes showed up at Thomas’ impromptu press conference at the supermarket and told a different story.
Next thing you know, Thomas’ account began to fall apart. She even admitted that “I don’t want to say he said, ‘Go back to your country,’ or ‘Go back to where you came from.’ But he was making those types of references is what I remember.”
We may never know exactly what happened. But it quickly became clear that Sparkes wasn’t your run-of-the-mill deplorable. He says he’s a Democrat. His Facebook page is reportedly full of anti-Trump rhetoric. (I saw a screenshot where he insinuated that the president is a “Nazi,” the sign of a bona fide Trump hater). Oh, and he claims to be hispanic.
Sparkes said he never told Thomas to go back anywhere, but admitted he did call the nine-months-pregnant woman a “bitch.”
Which makes him a terrible person. Not a racist.
So on the one hand, we had a woman doing her best to fuel a race war while raising her political profile. On the other we have a jerk who harassed a pregnant woman in a supermarket line.
And then we have the press and social media gleefully spreading another nutty - probably incorrect - story.
Memo to Mr. Sparkes: You sir, are no gentleman. When a pregnant woman is in line at the supermarket on a hot summer day you don’t count the items in her cart. You offer to carry her groceries. You definitely do not call her a bitch. What is WRONG with you?
Memo to Rep. Thomas: Next time you get into an altercation in a supermarket, don’t attempt to use the incident to advance your political career by race baiting. And don’t make stuff up or exaggerate. Maybe stay off Facebook.
Memo to the media: Please develop bullshit filters.