Donald Trump sneered at ‘angry crowds’ holding politicians to account. That’s exactly what we’re doing – and we’re only just getting startedBen Wikler Feb. 23, 2017
Americans are flooding into town halls across the country. Fearful that their country is being torn apart, they are turning out to protest their representatives in record numbers. Clearly, the furious crowds have gotten under Donald Trump’s skin. In a sneering tweet, the president dismissed the “so-called angry crowds” at town hall events as “planned by liberal activists.” We’ll take that as a compliment.
More than two dozen progressive activist groups are using ResistanceRecess.com, a site posted just last week by MoveOn.org, to search among more than 500 local congressional events around the country. Anyone can RSVP for an event and get a reminder email. So yes, that’s evidence of planning – apparently more planning than goes into a typical executive order issued by this White House.
But here’s the thing: the crowds are unmistakably real, and the anger runs deep.
Many of those showing up at town hall events have never done anything like that in their lives. Just like the participants in the millions-strong Women’s March and the spontaneous airport protests, the people filling these town hall events are acting with moral urgency – and with a deeply responsible sense of civic duty. Now it’s up to members of Congress to decide how to respond.
They can listen to their constituents, do their jobs and pull the country back from the precipice that Trump seems so determined to drive it off of. Or they can fail to heed the voices of their own voters – and face the consequences at the ballot box.
But one thing’s for sure: even after Congress returns from recess, the resistance isn’t going anywhere. We voters are watching.
The intensity at the town halls is so high that more than 200 elected officials have reportedly abandoned public forums in February entirely. But they’re in for the worst of it. Where politicians are cowering in fear of their constituents, citizens are forging ahead with town hall events of their own – with an empty seat at the front reserved for their member of Congress.
If their invited representatives don’t show up, the absence will speak volumes to the local news cameras and Facebook Live feeds streaming from their constituents’ mobile phones. And to make sure nobody forgets that their officials have gone AWOL, they’re buying local newspaper ads calling them out and plastering milk cartons with “MISSING” stickers in their local supermarkets.
Resistance Recess is blowing the Republicans’ momentum out to sea. But it’s not just Republicans facing energized crowds. In blue states and congressional districts, citizens are thronging to public events as well, demanding full-throated, no-fear resistance from Democratic lawmakers.
Their message: when fundamental principles, and our very constitution, is at stake, there is no room for compromise. Democrats who get the message and pledge to fight are greeted by cheers. Those who still haven’t realized that these aren’t normal times – and that their role now is to resist, not appease – are engulfed by fierce chanting: “Do your job!”
Continue reading at: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/feb/23/town-hall-protests-donald-trump-angry-crowds