We received a less than stellar review this past week on the website TripAdvisor. We would like to share that review here and our response. The review is actually quite positive regarding the atmosphere, service and food (which makes us happy), however the reviewer was disturbed, to the point of saying he will not return to the Diner, because of our life-sized, cardboard cutout of Bernie Sanders (which is currently in residence in our dining area).
We want to take the time to discuss this, because it does, in fact, go to the heart of what we believe a Diner, and this Diner in particular, is all about.
The independent, sole owner-operated Diner is a 100% American-creation and a rare and fast disappearing thing. We are lucky here, in small town Vermont. There is a niche for us to be an independent, local, owner-operated business and even to serve as a community meeting place. A BIG part of what happens here (and what is THE POINT of a Diner) is conversation, engaging with your fellow citizens. A Diner is a truly egalitarian place. EVERYONE is welcome to come in and eat and sit at our big, horseshoe counter to engage with every one else who is eating at the counter. All people are welcome. All opinions are welcome. All respectful and kind exchange of ideas is welcome, encouraged even.
This is said a lot these days, in a lot of different situations, but we ARE proud Americans here at The Hartland Diner. We know that a big part of what sets The United States apart from the rest of the world is our Constitution and our electoral process. We Americans have something called The Constitution of the United States (copies of which are available on every table at the Diner and to take home if you don’t have one and could use one – we all could use one!) that guarantees each and every one of us both the right to vote and Freedom of Speech.
These two things are incredibly precious and almost unheard of in this world. We encourage EVERY SINGLE AMERICAN to exercise these rights. We want the Diner to be a hotbed of voter activism and political and social discussion. We are greatly saddened by what we see as increasing “insulation” of people in our country. Every day it becomes easier to surround ourselves only with voices, opinions, information that we already agree with and to cut off all contact/interaction/discussion with the people whose opinions, views, life experiences are different from our own. This is a disaster in a country, in a society, in a COMMUNITY. It lessens every one of us as humans and as Americans.
It is incumbent upon each one of us, as human beings and as Americans, to put ourselves in situations where we DO interact with people who are different, where we DO engage in respectful, kind conversation with people who hold opposing views/opinions, where we perhaps are not 100% “comfortable,” but where we have to opportunity to grow and change.
And it is incumbent upon EVERY one of us who is old enough to exercise our right to VOTE.
Be PROUD to be an American and to have the rights, protections and guarantees of our Constitution. Be PROUD that those rights, protections and guarantees are shared with every other American. Be PROUD to exercise your Freedom of Speech. Be PROUD to back a candidate of your choosing and to engage with people who do not back your candidate.
Fly your American flag loud and proud and do it with respect and kindness towards your fellow man.
THAT is what we are about here at The Hartland Diner. Our candidate is Bernie Sanders. We all are voting. We encourage EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU to also vote.
And remember to SMILE and LAUGH while you’re doing all of this. Because we are going to be okay in the end and this Republic WILL endure.