Dear conservatives (and liberals) better

Permit me, if you will, a hypothetical exercise. A controversial politician is invited by an organization or political candidate to speak at an event or is out for dinner. The figure’s pending appearance is mentioned in the local media – becoming a rather hot topic for opponents – or gets passed around social media. Protests and disruptions occur sometimes ruining dinner. Supporters of said controversial politician act surprised, while opponents claim the said figure is simply out of touch. The protests become the story garnering publicly (both good and bad) for the groups causing the disorder and sympathy for the candidate. Whether they have any effect on the voting public is anyone’s guess.

The exercise isn’t exactly hypothetical because this is what recently happened to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Miami congressional candidate Donna Shalala outside a Miami restaurant and to U.S. Senator Ted Cruz at a D.C. restaurant last month.

It’s understandable why both sides would be incensed at the other. Shalala and Pelosi were scheduled to appear with California Congresswoman (and Fidel Casto fan) Barbara Lee. Part of Miami’s Cuban population (and a couple Proud Boys) decided to show their opinion with signs and chants declaring Pelosi a communist and pushed past a campaign staffer to yell obscenities. They also banged on the door of the restaurant the pair was inside.

Cruz was out dining with his wife and was confronted by demonstrators (who appeared to keep their mouths mostly clean) for his friendship and support of now Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. He was still driven from the restaurant, having to push aside shouting demonstrators to exit. Other protesters aired their rage by pounding their fists against the doors of the U.S. Supreme Court and harassed Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at a restaurant.

It is a situation becoming far too common in American politics – and both sides need to stop it.

There’s a major difference between scenes in Miami and Washington, DC and the original Tea Party protests. Those protests were peaceful and focused on bringing about a coherent message regarding fiscal sanity and reining in spending. Leftists have been able to coordinate peaceful protests – mostly in Texas – so there are cooler heads on both sides who want to more than just thrash around and destroy stuff. But yelling and banging on doors get more publicity – so hey, why not go for broke?

Yes, I’m being sarcastic. I want to be angry about this but I’m more disappointed – especially at the so-called conservatives and MAGAphiles who have decided the best way to get their message out is to imitate their brethren on the left. Here’s the thing: shouting brickbats at someone and smashing fists against metal entryways don’t change minds, but do nothing other than make you look like ignorant blockheads.

This notion of what’s good for the goose is good for the gander when it comes to protests doesn’t work when all you’re doing is making an ass of yourself. Guess what? You don’t have to play by the so-called ‘new rules’ (I’d use stronger language on the ‘new rules’ but I’m not interested in running afoul of the editors) and it’s probably better to ignore them. These ‘new rules’ are created by those who simply want to see the fractious behavior and are promoted and encouraged by grifters and frauds who are interested in making a buck or getting publicity instead of actually encouraging discussion.

I’m actually a fan of protests – as long as they are peaceful. I think people ought to be able to yell and scream whatever they want – as long as they don’t threaten violence. Anything else is pretty much mob action – which is what banging on doors of the Supreme Court or a Miami restaurant are.

Be better. Be substantive in your arguments (“Believe all women” and “F***ing communist” are far from meaningful arguments) and at least show a little bit of respect towards political opponents – even if they don’t show you respect. It may not be as temporarily successful – as the mobs against Cruz and Pelosi appeared to be – but it’s a lot easier bringing in real allies, instead of those who just want to vent their spleens or bruise their hands pummeling on an entryway.

David Strom 6:41 PM on September 26, 2022