Whether we are politically right or left, calling for the harassment of anyone in President Trump’s cabinet are a slap in the face to all Americans.
At issue is public safety and civility, and we as citizens must demand more from our elected officials. Our political system will remain broken if we accept such partisan pandering to an extreme- and increasingly violent- base. We cannot tolerate fellow citizens being harassed for doing something as simple as going to a restaurant with their family. That is not America.
It’s not just White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders- Sanders and her family were thrown out of a restaurant by the owner because Sanders works for the Trump administration. Florida AG Pam Bondi washarassed nearly to the point of physical altercation (at a screening for a Mr. Rogers documentary no less). DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsenwas chased out of a restaurant by an anti-Trump activist group. Elaine Chao, U.S. Secretary of Transportation and her husband, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell- while leaving a restaurant- were confronted and yelled at by activists who had to be restrained by security.
This uptick in aggression comes roughly a year after a man opened fire on a friendly congressional baseball game, wounding a Republican congressman.
So when United States Congresswoman Maxine Watersmakes comments that actively urge the harassment of fellow citizens, it more than crosses a line. Yet there seems to be a general acceptance of this behavior because some people (especially the biased media) rationalize that it’s “against” President Trump.
No- this abhorrent behavior is against our fellow citizens and it is unacceptable, no matter how much we might agree or disagree with them. (Shall we set aside how the four women mentioned above supposedly aren’t victims of the left’s war on conservative women? What would happen if conservative activists did the same to progressive women?).
Certainly, there is a breakdown of public trust in our government, in both elected and appointed officials. We live in a politically polarized America. But not “trusting,” or disagreeing with an administration and then calling for the harassment of public officials is a short step from lawlessness. There was”lack of trust” under Obama yet there weren’t open calls by Republican elected representatives to harass and disrupt the private lives of Obama cabinet members.
So what’s the recourse for disaffected citizens who think their government must do better? I can tell you it isn’t advocating for uncivil disobedience or protests that will likely lead to violence. There are far more productive ways in which we as citizens can work to influence our elected officials.
This isn’t a playground, where we encourage children to channel their aggressive or bullying behavior into something more positive. If we as citizens accept comments like those made by Maxine Waters, we are setting an example for our kids that it is ok to harass someone else if we disagree with them.
Doug Nickle is an author, political reformer and 2nd Amendment advocate. After graduating from the University of California, Berkeley, he played professional baseball, pitching in the Major Leagues for the Philadelphia Phillies and San Diego Padres. He is a dedicated proponent of citizen accountability and believes that only an engaged and informed electorate can effectively sustain the American Republic.