It's Not Working For Them
Editorial Board, Sacramento Bee:
President Donald Trump’s chaotic first weeks have generated wide disapproval, and not all the protests have been placid. But U.S. Rep. Tom McClintock needs to stop insisting that the seniors, families and middle-aged picketers at his town hall this past weekend were an “anarchist element.”
As The Sacramento Bee’s Angela Hart reported Saturday, the unhappy crowd that greeted the Sierra Nevada’s man in Congress was anti-Trump and noisy. But McClintock’s claims to outside media afterward that “anarchists” had gathered to “disrupt” his meeting was true only if by “anarchists” you mean “neighbors and grandparents.”
Interviews revealed a lot of gray-haired retirees worried about Medicare and workers fearful of the Republican plan to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. Some said they had driven hours through the Sierra to hear the congressman speak in downtown Roseville; others said they had never demonstrated before, but wanted to register their dismay at Trump’s ban on travel from seven Muslim-majority countries and his efforts to roll back environmental rules.
As someone whose district includes Yosemite National Park, and who gleefully embraced the tea party after the election of President Barack Obama, one might think McClintock would be alert to environmental issues and savvy enough to recognize a gathering grassroots firestorm.
As always, we can expect politicians to try to shape the debate first by "defining down" the opponent - calling the protesters "anarchists" for example. I always liked that one. People gathered in large groups on a specifically planned date at a specifically planned time for a specifically planned purpose may be many different things, but "anarchists" they are not.
Like the man said: Anarchy never really caught on because nobody shows up at the meetings.
But that wasn't anarchy, Congressman. That was opposition and that's what democracy looks like. Of course, you being Republican and all, it doesn't surprise me that you didn't recognize it when you saw it.
Anyway, denigrating the opposition is tried-n-true. If you can count on your own political clique to show up in greater numbers than the other guy's, then it doesn't matter what weird outrageous thing falls outa your tater trap. You say it, Press Poodles print it and we can all go on pretending we're not living in a minority-ruled Oligarchy. Or Plutocracy. Or whatever other shitty system that isn't the Representative Democracy this fucking joint's supposed to be, goddammit.
And a solid pat on the shoulder goes to The Sacramento Bee for doing the job of the 4th Estate in pretty good shape this time.