Earlier this week a bartender made national news when he followed Stephen Miller, possibly the Trump adviser the left hates most, out of a restaurant, cursed him and then flipped him off with both hands.
Obviously, the left’s arguments have never been stronger.
The conservative response to what’s become the left’s dominant argument against Trump et al — obscenity served on a bed of rage, garnished with fake news — has been to condemn the leftists initiating the confrontations.
It hasn’t just been Miller. In mid-June, Department of Homeland Security Security Kirstjen Nielsen was confronted at her table by a crowd of angry protesters in a Mexican restaurant in Washington.
Days later, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders was famously asked to leave a restaurant in Lexington, Virginia. In early July, then-EPA administrator Scott Pruitt was accosted by a woman with a baby in her arms, who was apparently so worried about the environment she was driven to start a public confrontation.
Conservatives seem to be incensed that the confrontations are taking place at all, and in very public places.
But that’s where conservatives are missing the boat. I say this for three reasons.
First and foremost, a fundamental American belief is that those in government derive their power from the people. We allow ourselves to be governed. This idea is enshrined in the Declaration of Independence.
It follows then that government officials should have a healthy fear of those same people. When they look at American citizens, I want public officials to vaguely feel the same way Theo Huxtable must have felt when his dad, played by a then-lionized Bill Cosby, said, “Son, I brought you into this world, and I can take you out.”
The people shouldn’t fear public officials. Public officials should fear the people.
Insulating officials from the angst their behavior creates for citizens sounds far more like something King George’s courtiers might seek than the American electorate.
And what would that sort of insulation look like anyway? Would the Secret Service be charged with assuring that officials never feel any discomfort from those they govern?
In 18 years, when Democrats finally manage to win the White House by running Hillary Clinton’s reanimated corpse, I’d like to be able to tell her just what I think of her arrogant, leftist and doubtless saggy and stinky presidency without the Secret Service ushering me back to my table or into a jail cell.
Second, let’s not forget how conservatives rejoiced in the dark days of Democrat town halls on Obamacare — town halls where voters seemed angry enough to just maybe be hiding buckets of roofing tar and boxes of goose down pillows just outside.
Conservatives delighted in watching Democrat officials squirm under pressure from their constituents, and we will again when it it inevitably happens — likely when Zombie Hillary convinces Congress to outlaw cars in favor of bicycles made from soy-based polymer that melts when exposed to water or air.
And third, from a crass and politically motivated viewpoint, why not provide even more rope for Democrats to hang themselves?
Yes, they’re already attempting mass suicide, but why refuse them a little help if they want it?
These confrontations do not engender support from the American people.
They might score big with the 20 percent or so on the far left, but moderates, independents and conservatives bristle at stories about a leftist refusing service to a mom who’s just trying to feed her family in peace.
If the Democrats think it’s a winning strategy to make the rest of the country feel discomfort with their tactics and sympathy for their victims, more power to them.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Just in case it’s not clear, I don’t like seeing Sanders, Nielsen, Pruitt or Miller accosted. I think they’re all doing wonderful jobs for Americans.
But I also want the right to confront public officials, within the bounds of the law. And if the left’s attempts at that sound less like patriotism to the American people and more like fingernails on a chalkboard, so much the better.
Josh Manning is Director of News at the Western Journal and holds a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University.
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