Like a pioneer boldly venturing into unknown territories, one Oregonian visitor stumbled into an unassuming Dairy Queen forty miles north of Milwaukee last week. But the chill came early.
A small sign pinned to the restaurant's door made its way to viral fame after this particular customer reported it on Dairy Queen's official Facebook page, requesting a formal censure from the overlords of icy treats be delivered to their wayward franchise.
The sign, posted by the store's owner, proudly admits to its own "political incorrectness." With little concern for subtlety, it blares in bold red letters, "This restaurant is politically incorrect."
"We have been known to say ‘Merry Christmas' ‘Happy Easter' ‘God Bless America," the sign says, continuing, "We Salute and Honor the Flag, Give thanks to our Troops, Police Officers and Firefighters, Give thanks for the USA and give free Sundaes to Veterans on Veteran's Day."
"If this offends you, you are welcome to contact the owner … and arrange a designated ‘snowflake safe space' a minimum 24 hours in advance," it goes on to read, concluding, "In God We Trust."
In her now-deleted picture of the sign posted to Dairy Queen's Facebook page, the Oregonian traveler called that language "extremely offensive." This public indignation sparked, for some reason, a national conversation that even landed in the pages of USA Today and the New York Times, both of which published the AP's report on the matter.
For one disgruntled out-of-towner to take her complaint that a private business owner in a community of 4,000 people greets customers with a mild message of cultural conservatism on the door of his Dairy Queen is fine, if not a bit sad as a reflection of our growing sensitivity. What's strange is that it now seems more appropriate to label a statement generally containing patriotic sentiments and Christian values as "cultural conservatism."
Tolerance for most everything on that sign should be bipartisan, at the very least. And in many areas of the country, I suspect it is. (I say that as someone who grew up not far from this Dairy Queen.)
But here we are in 2017, where a banal statement of mainstream cultural values taped to the doors of a small-town Dairy Queen is controversial enough to foment a contentious conversation that ripples across the country.
I do not know the background of this particular Oregonian, other than Oregon. But it's unlikely a store owner in Portland or Brooklyn or Los Angeles or Washington would ever adorn their door with similar sentiments. Ours is a big country, to be sure. Nevertheless, that the sign in question no longer constitutes common ground from coast-to-coast and places in between is probably something to consider.
Emily Jashinsky is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.