Reaction: Maxine Waters, Political Privilege and Midterms

Maxine Waters has lost the plot. She has enjoyed the life of the privileged political class for twenty-eight years and has just been caught out. However illuminating her call for harassment may be, Maxine Waters’s chances of ever getting voted out of office even if she were to do worse is scant at best.  Unfortunately, she has matured in her Congressional seat at a time when politicians use rudeness as a moral corrective, and they are off the mark. It’s not a corrective; it’s just rude. And this time Waters has entered the realm of inciting disrespect, possible violence and worse.

In Los Angeles, over the weekend she shouted at a rally, “The American people have put up with this president long enough. What more do we need to see? What more lies do we need to hear?” She spoke to a group gathered to protest the separation of families at the border. “If you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out, and you create a crowd, and you push back on them! And you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.”

Sigh.

This is on the heels of the weekend ejecting of  Trump administration spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders and her family from the Red Hen Restaurant in Lexington, Virginia after the owner showed up and took a poll of her staff. Who wanted Sander’s kicked out? A count was taken, and she ejected the family. Cue Twitter eruption.

Refusing service to Sanders comes after several weeks of the Trump administration’s forced family separation per the President’s “zero tolerance” policy for illegal immigrants crossing the border from Mexico into the United States. The video, still images and audio captured at the border are haunting, and arguments amongst Americans have boiled over. The Sanders family left The Red Hen without incident – but you can bet one giant incident has followed, galvanizing Trump voters and anti-Trumpers alike. I will leave you to assume each side’s stance.

Maxine Waters is a Democrat U.S. Representative for California’s 43rd congressional district before she represented the 35th and 29th districts, and was first elected in 1990.  So let’s go back a little over her twenty-eight-year tenure. During the Obama administration, she expressed disgust at what she saw as a lack of the concern for the welfare of the black community. She told POLITICO in 2011 that, “I believe in empowerment. I have a great sense of what’s unfair…this is what I do.”

It’s what she does, see.  She is the arbiter of fairness, she believes in empowerment. So when the last three heads of state, which she served alongside, and their respective administrations, undertook policies that violated human rights, were racist, were unfair, and then defended its actions time and again, where was the call to get out and create a crowd and push back on them?

George W. Bush, the second president in the White House during Waters time on Capitol Hill, got us into the Iraq war (personal commentary withheld) and subsequently got 4,400 American soldiers killed in 15 years of combat and along with some 300,000 Iraqis. Where was the megaphone and call to harass members of that administration?

What about Bill Clinton’s three strikes law and his wife’s “super predator” comments which spurred the dismantling of an entire generation of black community’s economic and family structure, giving rise to the prison industrial complex? Where was the megaphone and call to harass members of that administration?

Let’s not forget Barack Obama’s failure to address the black community’s needs as violence in Chicago escalated?  After all, Waters has a great sense of what’s unfair. Where was the megaphone and call to harass members of that administration?

I’m not going to mince words. Any restaurant asking an Obama administration official to get up and leave – the cheese plate is on the house, just leave – over drones strikes, or deportation rates or any reason whatsoever would have erupted in righteous leftist indignation before the car had backed out of the lot. This restaurant incident showcases a tired political double standard of inserting a context for political and personal gain.

What is interesting here is that when Waters pressed the button on that megaphone, Capitol Hill politicians pressed the “post” button on hand slapping tweets.  Surprise! Maxine Waters brought establishment leaders together in condemnation, for different reasons of course. Obama’s chief campaign strategist, David Axelrod chimed in.

 

 

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a floor speech, ” We all have to remember to treat our fellow Americans, all of our fellow Americans, with the kind of civility and respect we expect, will be afforded to us. I strongly disagree with those who advocate harassing folks if they don’t agree with you. If you disagree with someone or something, stand up, make your voice heard. Explain why you think they’re wrong. And why you’re right. Make the argument. Protest, peacefully. If you disagree with a politician, organize your fellow citizens to action and vote them out of office. But no one should call for the harassment of political opponents. That’s not right. That’s not American.”

How very adult of Chuck. But then we get down to brass tacks with Senate House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

 

See what she did right there? She told the truth: Now is not the time, Maxine. It’s too close to midterms.

Our beloved democracy is meant to be elastic and to bend and sway and survive the test of time through voting, activism, voting, conversing, and voting. But make no mistake, these entrenched politicians on both sides of the aisle are cloistered in the privilege and safety of dependable ballot returns. So when one of them steps out of bounds disastrously, another swoops in to remind them to keep the party in power. Which is why I have a recommendation for ‘the crucial months ahead’: Keep an eye on each party’s effort to keep the politically privileged in power. And take notes. And vote.