Last week, the Washington Post ran an opinion piece headlined, "Should designers dress Melania and Ivanka? The question is more complex than it seems."
Actually, the question is not more complex than it seems—it's really quite simple: "If designers want to dress the first lady, then they should do it. If they don't want to, then they don't have to."
Fashion designers in this country are free to design dresses and use their creative abilities however they choose. And if they decide not to design for a particular occasion, they should not be forced (or pressured) into doing so.
There are two simple reasons why we feel this way:
1) Forced participation is against American values. This country is the home of the brave and the land of the free. One of our most sacred freedoms is the right to a moral objection.
The movie Hacksaw Ridge taught us this well last year. No matter how difficult it was for our military leaders to understand Desmond Doss' moral objection to carrying a weapon in battle, or how dangerous it was to him and his unit, he had the right to object. And neither the American military nor the federal government could stop him.
Fashion designers have the same right to object, and no lawsuit or government ordinance should be crafted to stop them.
2) Our talent provides our unique voice in culture—it's our signature. And no one should force us against our will to use our signature for something with which we disagree.
I (David) remember standing in an autograph line with Mark McGuire during spring training with the St. Louis Cardinals. As we were signing, a man handed Mac a ball and said, "I'm going to get good money for this on eBay." Mark handed it back to him without signing and said, "I'm not signing your ball."
That was 16 years ago, and no one threw a temper tantrum about it. He simply didn't want someone making a quick buck off his signature. So he objected, because his signature mattered. And he could've objected for any number of reasons, because he had the right.
The bottom line is, we live in a free country—and a moral objection is a protected freedom. It always has been, and it always should be.
The elites in New York City, D.C. and L.A. agree with us here—unless our moral objection is out of line with theirs. In that case, we're narrow-minded, discriminating bigots.
Let's do this quick exercise. Read the following line from the Post's article and replace the word "designers" with "bakers," "florists" or "photographers" and "fashion" with "baking," "flowers" or "pictures":
"But as for those designers for whom fashion serves as their voice in the world, they should not feel obligated to say something in which they do not believe."
Oh the hypocrisy.
It's important to note that neither Melania nor Ivanka have sued any objecting designer. And Trump supporters are not pressuring the Manhattan City Council to add "first lady" to the city's nondiscrimination policy, either.
What we are seeing here in the Washington Post (and most things coming out of New York City, D.C. and L.A.) is such gross hypocrisy that if Americans don't rise up and push back, our right to a moral objection will disappear altogether—unless, of course, it's in line with the elites in New York City, D.C. and L.A.
It's not complex to see how fashion designers today with moral objections are considered "heroes," while bakers, florists, and photographers with the same objections are called "haters."
The headline for our article in the Washington Post would be pretty simple, and our answer even more so:
"Should designers, bakers, florists and photographers participate in inaugurations, weddings or parades? The answer is pretty simple: If they want to."
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