Over the weekend, we saw Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) — a woman who once enthusiastically defended riots in Los Angeles that ended with $1 billion in property damage — endorse intimidation against her political opponents. This is the charming woman that many on the left have termed "Auntie Maxine" for her charming habit of calling for impeachment against President Trump.
Speaking at a toy drive outside the Wilshire Federal Building, she ranted:
History will record while he tried to step on all of us, we kicked him in his rear and stepped on him. If you think we’re rallying now, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Already, you have members of your cabinet that are being booed out of restaurants, who have protesters taking up at their house, who say, "No peace, no sleep. No peace, no sleep." And guess what? We’re going to win this battle because while you try and quote the Bible, Jeff Sessions and others, you really don’t know the Bible. God is on OUR side! On the side of the children. On the side of what’s right. On the side of what’s honorable. And so, let’s stay the course. Let’s make sure we show up wherever we have to show up and 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. Mr. President, we will see you ever day, every hour of the day, everywhere that we are to let you know you cannot get away with this!
This insane rant followed a Red Hen restaurant refusing to serve White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, as well as Homeland Security Security Secretary Kristjen Nielsen being heckled out of a restaurant in Washington, D.C.
While we've been hearing for weeks about President Trump's supposedly Nazi-esque border policy, Waters’ preferred tactic has actually been frequently used by fascist groups in order to intimidate others into silence. Here’s a quote from Richard Evans’ magisterial work on the rise of the Nazis, The Coming Of The Third Reich, considering the treatment of Social Democrat Reichstag deputy Otto Buchwitz in Silesia:
Brownshirts occupied the seats at his meetings, shouted insults at him, and on one occasion fired a shot at him, causing mass panic amongst his listeners and leading to a brawl in which more shots were fired by both stormtroopers and Reichsbanner men. Several Nazis and Social Democrats had to be taken to hospital, and not a single table or chair in the hall was left intact. After this, gangs of eight to ten Nazi stormtroopers harassed Buchwitz outside his house when he left for work in the morning, twenty or more crowded round him when he came back to his office after lunch, and between one and two hundred hassled him on the way home, singing a specially composed song with the words "When the revolvers are shot, Buchwitz’ll cop the lot!" Nazi demonstrations always halted outside his house, chanting "Death to Buchwitz!"
Public confrontations over politics are a dangerous business. And encouraging such confrontations is part of the problem.
Here’s the basic rule for a civilized society: you have the right to refuse service to anyone you choose (and yes, that applies to the Red Hen); that person has the right to criticize you (yes, that applies to Sarah Huckabee Sanders); you have the right to protest any public official in a public setting. You do not have the right to invade someone else’s property to harass someone dining in a public place or to harass people at their homes, as with Nielsen. Waters’ approach is far worse than that of the Red Hen. And every Democrat should be asked whether they agree with her intimidation tactics.