COMMENTARY: Some rules of civility for the Trump era


“Now, it is well-known,” Sir Walter Scott observed, “that a man may with more impunity be guilty of an actual breach either of real good breeding or of good morals, than appear ignorant of the most minute point of fashionable etiquette.”

Below, with apologies to Emily Post, are a few rules of civility to help carry us through these difficult and often awkward moments in this brave new era. Restaurant etiquette, I believe, has been thoroughly covered in recent days, but there are so many other areas we have yet to explore.

When marching with a torch in support of white supremacy, be certain not to take up too much of the sidewalk, and give the space on the side nearest the wall to him who you wish to honor.

Children should be removed from their parents going from the left to the right, or smallest to largest. If you are unsure of which way to proceed, glance over to see what the person seated next to you is doing.

Children whose peers have recently been murdered due to gun violence ought always to show deference to conservative media personalities, who are, after all, their elders.

It is polite to give up your seat to a judge selected by Donald Trump, especially if you are Merrick Garland.

Always offer a spot in your immigration detention center to a pregnant woman before taking it yourself.

It is gauche to tell a woman at your California crisis pregnancy center that yours is not a licensed medical facility that provides a full range of services. Instead, say nothing.

Asparagus may be eaten with the fingers, unless you are in Puerto Rico and no longer receiving food assistance.

Women ought to be addressed with respect. “Crooked Hillary” is rude. It is “Madam Crooked Hillary,” or “Miss Mika Brzezinski, Bleeding Badly From A Facelift.”

One must always salute the North Korean military.

“You are not welcome in this country because of your faith” is a terrible thing to say. Instead, say, “You are not welcome in this country because your country of origin is on a list, sir.”

It is rude to address people as “animals,” unless you are the president.

It is rude to say “infest” when speaking of people, unless you are the president.

When visiting Flint, Michigan, be especially careful not to not drink water out of your finger bowls. That water is not potable.

Your hat should be removed when escorting someone from the country.

Never kneel in the presence of the flag when black.

When refusing to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple, be certain to address them as “sir” and “sir.”

“This Is Not Who We Are” is incorrect. More proper is “This Is Not Who One Is.”

The correct chant is not “Lock her up!” It is “Lock her up, please!”

The correct chant is not “Build the wall!” It is “Build the wall, if you would be so kind!”

T-shirts that read “TRUMP 2020: F— Your Feelings” are wildly inappropriate. Instead, embroider this sentiment on a sensible button-down or, better yet, print it on a tie.

Children should not disrupt social gatherings. No matter what is happening to those children or who is responsible. Crying children should be seen and not heard. Or better yet, neither seen nor heard.

Alexandra Petri is a columnist for the Washington Post Writers Group. Follow her @petridishes.