One worthwhile exercise if you have the time (or the professional incentive) when reading articles about left-wing protests is a quick Internet search of the names of people quoted. Sometimes it’s clear that they are actually organizers whom the journalists have not identified as such. Sometimes it becomes clear that they’ve got some sort of financial interest in the subject about which they’re protesting. And sometimes, the search just brings up interesting context.
Covering the protest in Providence asking Rhode Island Democrat Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse to prevent the U.S. Senate from confirming any Supreme Court justices following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, ABC6 News’s Jordan Mazza spoke with this woman:
“How dare they, first of all ignore their own rule, and second of all, we’re in process in an election,” said Deborah Lennon of Newport. “We won’t have it. This is the last straw.” …
“They need to fight really, really hard on this,” Lennon said. “It’s not about maintaining the decorum of the senate. This is really time to pull out all the stops. We need to turn this around. I don’t want to live in a dictatorship.”
The interesting context comes from a Providence Journal article that Kate Bramson wrote in early February 2017, about two weeks after the inauguration of Republican President Donald Trump:
As Deborah Lennon, of Newport, told the delegation not to let Trump’s nominee be considered for the “stolen Supreme Court seat,” the crowd jumped to its feet and chanted, “Filibuster.” …
Lennon said 73.5 million Americans voted against Trump, the Senate lost two Republican seats and the House lost five.
“We did not expect to forfeit all checks and balances in this election, and we need you to fight for us,” she stressed. “They do not have a mandate. You do.”
The rhetoric quoted in that article from the beginning of Trump’s first term could practically be mixed and matched with the rhetoric we’re hearing now. Paul Rocha of Warren, for example, told the senators to “roll up your sleeves and get dirty,” elaborating to Bramson that they should “use any means necessary, short of violence.”
When an activist starts out a presidential term insisting that the elected President, Senate, and Congress have no mandate, she doesn’t have a whole lot of room to be speaking against dictatorship four years later. When the sentiment just after an electoral loss is that “the resistance” has to “get dirty” and “use any means necessary, short of violence”? Where do they go from there?
Featured image: Protesters’ giant-gavel prop from John DePetro’s coverage of the event.
Of the following two issues related to Rhode Island’s public schools, which one is a greater concern?