Darian Mesneak | WR-121-13
Would you let someone put a hole punch through your presidents head for a free cup of coffee?
CBS recently did a story covering a small metal coffee shop in Pittsburgh that is serving delicious cups of coffee with a punch card that has a little political humor. The Pittsburgh coffee shop, Black Forge Coffee House has been using political punch cards with the faces of well know conservatives including vice president Mike Pence, Sen. Ted Cruz and recently President Donald Trump. The coffee shop claimed they have been using the political punch cards for a while but haven’t really had any issues until they added the face of Trump to their cards. One of the coffee shop co-owners claimed that they do not condone violence in any way nor do they wish any direct harm to the face represented on the their cards. They use the cards as a way of self expression of their political views. Many of their regular customers have no problem with the cards and agree that it is funny, but many other people are upset by the cards. Some people are so upset that the coffee shop began receiving threatening phone calls from all over the country. Some of the people who called in said they hope the owners burn in their own building or hope that they themselves get shot in the head.
So are the punch cards wrong? In my opinion, the punch cards are not wrong. I look at these punch cards as a very clever form of expression and I believe that Black Forge has every right to express how they feel about our current leaders, or any leaders for that matter, just as we all should. I wouldn’t care if they had all democratic, liberal figures on their punch cards either. If that is how Black Forge feels about our countries political figures then they should have every right to express those feelings. I look at these punch cards no differently than a bumper sticker that says “don’t elect an idiot“with an image of Hillary Clinton or anti-Trump shirts.
These are all forms of political expression that every American should have the right to express. I find it funny that so many people are offended by the punch cards because I would bet that the people who are offended and pro-Trump have some sort of anti-democrat media such as a bumper sticker or T-shirt. I obviously cannot say I know that for sure, that is just my gut feeling. To back up my claim I did research on what other news sources were saying about the controversy surrounding the punch cards. While searching I found an article by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazzette. While reading through the article they mention that other businesses such has a gun range in Florida is selling target sheets with democratic and liberal figures such as Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders on them for target practice.
On the other side during the CBS video they interviewed customers and one of these customers agreed that the punch cards are okay and even said that he thought it was a good business move. On both sides of the fence there are strong opinions, but what I didn’t see or hear were any violent or argumentative retaliation from the business co-owners, which I thought was interesting. The co-owners in my opinion were very professional and took the threats with stride. The business has found a lot of support from locals including their police department, which is great! From what I read in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazzette, the business is really involved with helping the community by giving artist, musicians and alternative groups a safe place to go and express themselves, which I think is awesome. From my research I found that most of the negative reactions to the punch cards have come from outside Pittsburgh and most people that disagree with the punch card took to the internet to post bad reviews about Black Forge on yelp, disliking their Facebook page and leaving horrible comments. I did some research on CBS Pittsburgh Facebook page and I found that the CBS post had Seventy-five likes, twenty-one hearts, seven-teen angry faces, ninety-one laughs and six wows. So it seems to me that most people on the Facebook post were pro-punch cards or just laughed about it. I also found the top comments on the CBS Facebook post were, in my opinion, mostly positive. In the end, I think that businesses should be allowed to express their political beliefs without being harassed on the internet.