On Monday, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) castigated Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) for calling on progressives to essentially harass members of the Trump administration:
Here in the Senate, we disagree with one another frequently, and often fervently. I certainly do. Many of us disagree with the policies of the current administration. In a country as large and diverse as ours, politics has always been a noisy, raucous affair – probably even more so today, and that’s okay. But 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.
Predictably, Schumer followed up his condemnation of harassment with a condemnation of Trump:
Now, I understand those who look at the conduct of this president, a man who habitually engages in bullying, name-calling, slander, and nastiness for its own sake, and think, we have to fight fire with fire. I know. I’ve felt those emotions myself – I think we all do.
I understand those who are outraged at the hypocrisy of this president when he complains about bullying, harassment, and nastiness when it’s used against him or his allies, and he uses it as a regular tool almost every day. I’m outraged by that hypocrisy, the double standard that we seem to let this president get away with. But the president’s tactics and behavior should never be emulated. It should be repudiated by organized, well-informed, and passionate advocacy.
As Michelle Obama … said, “When they go low, we go high.” That’s a contrast of civility, honor, and decency to President Trump’s coarseness and meanness, and it’s a contrast that will serve those of us who oppose what the president does so well.
To opponents of the president’s policies, the best way to limit what he can do, to show that America is not as coarse, as mean, as hypocritical as his behavior suggests – the best solution is to win elections. That is a far more productive way to channel the legitimate frustrations with this president’s policies than harassing members of his administration.
For context, on Saturday, Rep. Waters told a crowd: “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.”