When I checked in to the Best Western White House Inn in Bellevue, Nebraska yesterday afternoon, I immediately noticed the Presidential theme. Each hotel room has a president’s name and photo outside, and artifacts relating to that president inside.
Imagine my surprise when I was assigned the George W Bush room… And my disappointment by how disrespectful the hotel is towards W.
Friends and longtime readers will tell you, I’m a fairly liberal person politically. I was not a fan of George W Bush as a president, and I was not happy when he was reelected. I’ve said many unkind things about the man in my day… But even I was appalled to see this large framed print on the wall of my hotel room:
I was a bit taken aback at first, because I naturally assumed that anything set up with a Presidential theme in a public place, with random customers of unknown political leanings, would be positive towards the former president, or at the very least neutral and bland. A closer look confirmed that it was pretty bad, in fact. Check it out:
Now remember: I didn’t care for this president, and under other circumstances I would find a smug satisfaction in reading this collection of absurd things that have come out of the man’s mouth… But that’s my personal individual view — it doesn’t belong on the wall of a public hotel room.
I don’t know if this is the consistent theme throughout the hotel — each room may be a send-up to the president in question, for all I know — but if this reflects the political beliefs of the owner/manager/decorator and isn’t consistent throughout, then I think it’s wildly inappropriate for a place of business.
Which brings me to my dilemma… Should a business display things that reflect the personal, political, religious, etc. beliefs of its owner? Is that an extension of his/her right to free speech? Or should a business owner be more neutral when customers are around, to avoid offending someone whose views are opposed?