Susan Rogers: Plenty of shame to go around
I wasn’t there, but I’ve read and heard a lot about the recent town hall hosted by the office of Rep. Doug LaMalfa. The fact that it generated four “Miss” submissions to this paper’s weekly “Hit & Miss” column really says something — and it’s not a good something.
Shame on all those who booed and yelled! How can any reasonable person think that any elected official will care about what constituents have to say when they boo and yell? Oh but wait, those people aren’t reasonable, which is why they booed and yelled.
How often do we hear a cry for civil discourse, and (because our Republican president is so good at being uncivil) that cry is usually coming from the left. How often do we hear locals (also on the left) complaining that our congressman rarely comes here to talk to us? Answer to both: frequently.
So LaMalfa finally shows up, and what happens? He gets interrupted, booed and yelled at. How civil, NOT. How to make him want to visit frequently, NOT.
The rude behavior, which apparently also included both booing and shouting “No guns” at the veterans’ Honor Guard, is appalling, and achieves nothing other than reflecting badly on all the other progressives, liberals and Democrats who disagree with LaMalfa on virtually everything, yet who would never dream of exhibiting such behavior in a town hall setting. (An outdoor protest rally, sure, but not a town hall.)
For the record, I’m currently a registered Democrat after many years of No Party Preference registration. At some point I’ll go back to No Party Preference because I’m constantly offended by how both major parties control this country, lock out third parties, and squelch good ideas and good people even within their own parties. (Kimberly Ellis is an example of an amazing Democrat who could bring great leadership to state and national politics, yet is repeatedly marginalized by the entrenched California Democratic machine.)
I was copied on some recent email exchanges between officers of the Nevada County Democratic Committee (apparently because they knew I was going to write this column), and can report they are just as unhappy about the town hall as LaMalfa’s supporters were. The local committee did nothing to invite or encourage the rude behavior, and while their email discussion floated the idea of admonishing their supporters, at their next meeting, to not behave badly, they also said it probably wouldn’t help because those who DID behave badly never attend local Democratic events.
Here’s some news for the yellers and booers: our congressman will never change his mind on any position you don’t like. That’s been obvious for years, which is why I don’t bother writing or calling his office anymore. He comes here because he knows he has to. People say he “doesn’t listen to us,” but of course he hears the words we say — he just doesn’t care, because his positions are not up for negotiation. Obviously, some think he deserves to be booed at a town hall for that. I say shame on that idea.
On the other hand, does LaMalfa deserve our animus and lack of respect? I think he absolutely does — just not out loud during a town hall. And that’s where the title of this opinion piece comes from, “Plenty of shame to go around.”
Shame on LaMalfa for denying the reality of climate change, willfully ignoring the overwhelming scientific evidence that shows human activity is threatening the viability of life on this planet.
Shame on LaMalfa for not being outraged that seven innocent children have died in what are essentially concentration camps, separated from their parents for reasons they had no control over. Tell me, congressman, is that “the American way?”
Shame on LaMalfa for voting against punishing Saudis who tortured, murdered and dismembered journalist Jamal Khashoggi, one of only seven House members (out of 412 voting) to do so.
Shame on LaMalfa for not supporting measures to reduce gun violence in America, even ones supported by a majority of NRA members.
Shame on LaMalfa for opposing net neutrality, failing to protect consumers by supporting corporate control over the price of internet access.
Shame on LaMalfa for supporting taxpayer funding of private schools (including religious schools), leaving less money for public education.
To those who waste their breath booing and yelling at the congressman: why bother? It’s rude, it accomplishes nothing (because he’ll never change) and worst of all, it makes everyone who is left-of-center look bad. We all get tarred, unfairly, with the same brush.
A better way to protest: give as much money as you can to support volunteers working for Audrey Denney in every other county in congressional District 1, so they can change the hearts and minds of those who keep re-electing LaMalfa. And in November 2020, vote for Audrey Denney.
Susan Rogers lives in Grass Valley and is a member of The Union’s Editorial Board. Her opinions are her own and do not necessarily reflect those of the editorial board or its members. She can be reached at EditBoard@theunion.com.
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