Like most progressives Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema is not my favorite senator. If I decided to rank the current members of the upper chamber, she might have a difficult time making my top 50 (there are only 50 Democrats). An incident where protestors followed her into an Arizona State University lavatory while filming their actions is the catalyst for this article, but it goes much deeper.
I think it goes without saying that following somebody into a bathroom with your phone recording is way over the line! But a discussion on just where the boundaries are when making your feelings known to an elected official is warranted today. Almost without exception I feel the home and family of the officials is out of bounds. The exception I might consider on homes is if the official lives in government housing (i.e. the White House or a Governor’s mansion). Personal private residences are definitely out!
The exception I would make when it comes to family are adult members of the family who have actively campaigned or are part of the staff (i.e. Hillary Clinton even before she ran for office, Donald Trump, Jr. and his sister Ivanka; Baron is out of bounds.) They crossed the line themselves and are now fair game.
When you are trying to get an elected official to change their position don’t make a fool of yourself in the process. I don’t know Senator Sinema – and I doubt many have figured her out – but I guarantee you that the bathroom incident didn’t get her to change her mind, if anything she hardened her position (whatever that really is) thinking the opposition is a bunch of idiots. Just think back to the early Tea Party protests. The silly hats and Halloween costumes did nothing to lend credence to the positions of the protesters. The signs that said keep your government hands off my Medicare just illustrated their ignorance. In fact, the only way it helped the movement is that many (myself certainly included) dismissed them as a bunch of clowns. That underestimation proved erroneous.
Other than peaceful demonstrations, attending town halls (if the pol in question has the courage to hold them) and traditional communications the way to hurt a disappointing Democrat who you feel that you cannot persuade is via the inside political game. If possible, get involved in the structure of the Party. Become a precinct chair, member of the local, county and/or state Party committee. The rules vary from state to state but this is often easier than you would think. Few people are willing to volunteer. You will have to put in some effort, maybe it is my blue collar roots, but I can’t think of too many things worth accomplishing in life that can be achieve without work. Again, depending on the state, the Party structure at several levels often has great control over ballot access and resource allocation.
Get a primary challenger. Most insurgent campaigns go nowhere but every so often there is an AOC who knocks off a well established incumbent. If you feel you are that sharp jump in yourself. Again, I’ll hold AOC out as an example but be wary, do you really measure up to her?
I’m all for political protest and lobbying but do it within the bounds of decency and target your actions with precision not “saturation bombing”. Many local positions are part time and hardly pay a stipend. Even in the “big leagues” the base salary for a member of Congress in 2021 is $174,000. The 2021 Major League Baseball minimum is $570,500. Speaking of baseball: congratulations to my Tampa Bay Rays on a fantastic regular season and good luck in the playoffs!
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