When perusing the web today, I started seeing articles about a woman who was kicked off a flight for being a Trump supporter. This didn’t seem quite right to me, primarily because I don’t see politics intersecting with everyday air travel much.
Flight attendants seem to care more about whether I get my luggage into the overhead bin promptly rather than whether or not I’m voting for Gary Johnson.
Still, I was intrigued. I don’t talk about my personal politics much, but freedom of speech is a huge deal to me, and I love the famous quote erroneously attributed to Voltaire, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” (It was actually uttered by Evelyn Beatrice Hall, who was a fan of Voltaire, but was the one who put all those free speech ideas together in a very pithy way.)
So I looked into it.
It turned out that a lot of the original reporting on this was wrong*. The person wasn’t kicked off but was almost kicked off. (*note: this article was later corrected, but see comments section).
Was it because the person was a Trump supporter?
From reading the original reporting, the follow-up commentary should have stated, “person who was almost kicked off flight also happened to be a Trump supporter.”
That’s as if I became excessively drunk on a flight and the reporting contained something like:
- Person who is female kicked off flight
- Ethnically Jewish person kicked off flight
- Catholic kicked off flight
Yes, these are statements about me and also facts about what would have happened, but are a bit misleading.
But the point that he was emphasizing was that the person was being excessively supportive of Trump on the flight, to the point where she appeared unhinged
It wasn’t what she was saying, it was how she was saying it.
After shouting “Trump” until she reached the very rear of the aircraft, Maria aroused the passion of a Trump foe who she would later describe as “a homosexual” and a verbal altercation ensued…
Meanwhile, Maria turned around and began pummeling her seat mate on the other side with the same conversation. The purser walked by and the passenger complained that Maria would not leave him alone and be quiet. She asked if he wanted her removed from the flight and he responded that he just wanted to be left alone.
The Trump piece was just an extra detail.
I would have received the same treatment if my fervent love for Star Wars went a bit too far on a flight and I started harassing and arguing with people who were Star Trek fans (or just wouldn’t agree with me that Star Wars is the best franchise ever).
If you read through the article, you’ll see it was her behavior–not her ideology–that almost got her kicked off.