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Politics & Policy

Sean Spicer Encounters Courageous Anti-Fascism at the Mall

A woman who saw Sean Spicer in an Apple Store Saturday started berating him for “destroying our country,” and has since accused him of racially abusing her for smiling and affirming her right to harass him in public. In order to “get answers for the American people,” she recorded the entire incident on video:

Without stopping to listen to anything he was saying, Shree Chauhan hysterically cycled through questions such as: “Have you helped with the Russia stuff? Are you a criminal as well? Have you committed treason too — just like the president? Have you committed treason too? What can you tell me about Russia?”

Spicer maintained an embarrassed smile through her litany, saying “We have a great country,” and “Thank you very much,” before declaring, “Such a nice country that allows you to be here.” A normal human being would conclude that he was being polite by affirming her right to enter an Apple Store and harass him — but later “it was revealed to [her]” that this was actually bigotry toward her Indian heritage.

Later, she wrote a 1,300-word article on Medium arguing her victimhood. She wrote, “I am still stunned by the boldness of having my citizenship threatened on camera.”

It takes quite an imagination to conclude that Spicer was responding to her temper tantrum by threatening her citizenship, which is, of course, not something that the White House press secretary or even the president himself has the authority to revoke at will. (Chauhan was born in the U.S.) It also seems like victim blaming to argue that his words were the offensive ones, but Chauhan took it even further in speaking to Heavy.com, who reported on this story, saying:

Part of the spiraling descent into fascism is the normalization of it. I recently saw a picture of folks taking a break from the horrors they were committing at Auschwitz. If we didn’t know any better, it would just look like a black and white photo of people laughing. But it was a picture of people laughing who were also committing genocide. What is interesting about fascism is that life does not stop completely, but things are changing. For me, confronting Mr. Spicer was a way to shake us out of the humdrum of life and acknowledge that the “subtle changes” are in fact abnormal and a descent into fascism.

Your eyes do not deceive you: She compared approaching Spicer to fighting the Nazis. In reality, fascists like those of the Third Reich did not tolerate unsolicited dissent like Chauhan’s, and her actions are not those of someone who believes she lives under an authoritarian regime.  

It takes a true social-justice warrior to accuse Spicer destroying the country, working for a fascist, and being involved in treason, and still have the nerve to call him a racist for smiling and affirming her right to harass him. But when you are sufficiently self-possessed, any encounter is can make you a hero.

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