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Hullabaloo


Sunday, April 23, 2017

 
"You’ve got to read, you have to be thoughtful, and you have to be engaged"

by digby





A California congressman, inspiring the Resistance:

U.S. Rep. Mark DeSaulnier’s town hall was winding down, and as usual his audience had gotten its money’s worth.

And not just because it was free.

DeSaulnier, D-Concord, treated the audience during a recent event at Stanley Middle School in Lafayette to the full dinner show: a fast-paced PowerPoint presentation; a civics lesson (want to know why the Congressional districts are numbered the way they are?); a dose of history (do you know which president was the first to issue his inaugural address from the West Terrace of the Capitol)?

Many familiar topics were touched upon, both in DeSaulnier’s talk and the Q&A that followed. Yes, more than a few dealt with the Trump in the room. Then came the final question card of the night, from a young girl, and it was a show-stopper.

“Eden wanted to have her question asked by staff because it’s past her bedtime,” explained a member of DeSaulnier’s staff, who then read the question:

“My name is Eden, and I’m 11 years old. My mom is worried about my future with President Trump. On election night, my mom cried. Kids at my school are worrying about being deported. I’ve read and heard awful things about him. Should I be worried about my future? As a kid, what can I do about it?”

“From the mouths of babes,” DeSaulnier said, apparently affected by the question. And who wouldn’t be? The toxic national discourse is dispiriting enough for adults. To hear that it is trickling down to affect 11-year-olds?

“It’s interesting,” he would say a few days later. “The night before in Richmond, something similar happened. Both instances were a little out of body for me. I sort of responded to the way people were responding to me.”

Back to Eden’s question: “I think you should be concerned,” DeSaulnier said. “This is dangerous stuff. I’ve said a few times, the most dangerous person in America isn’t a terrorist, it’s the person who’s president of the United States. So Eden, you’ve got to read, you have to be thoughtful, and you have to be engaged.”

It was as if DeSaulnier knew exactly whom he was talking to. Eden, bright-eyed and engaging, has accompanied her mother, Alissa Levy, to the polls every election day since she can remember. “Since I was a baby,” she said a week after DeSaulnier’s town hall. “I’ve done everything in politics with my mom.”

Back to the Q&A:

“So the Greeks’ (description of) the word ‘idiot,'” DeSaulnier said, warming to the subject. “If you were qualified to vote in the Athenian democracy, you were called an idiot if you didn’t participate. The Greeks are sending us a message.”

Eden participated in Trump protests at her school shortly after the election and marched for climate change awareness. But she’s not only a political activist. She also has volunteered at her temple, recently picking fruit for the homeless.

DeSaulnier: “If we don’t participate for ourselves, but more importantly if we don’t participate for Eden and for future generations … People died for this,” he said, his voice catching. “People have come from all over the world — I’m getting a little emotional — for this. American democracy is not some trite thing. It’s the epitome of human evolution in my view.

“How we govern each other and how we respect one another, that’s what this is about. It’s not about vilifying people because they don’t look like you. It’s about engaging and empathy and understanding you’re going to have differences of opinion, but that’s OK. That’s what democracy is all about. So to Eden, what I’d say is, do what the founders of this country wanted you to do. Do what your grandparents, your great-grandparents did when they went to the other side of the world and died and put their lives on the line. American democracy is worth fighting for. So we should all do that. And Eden, if we all do that … ”

Even if DeSaulnier had been able to finish the sentence, he wouldn’t have been heard above the applause.

The wingnuts are up in arms because he said the president is more dangerous than a terrorist. Of course he is. A narcissistic, domineering, corrupt, bigoted, imbecile is running the world's only superpower. He's the most dangerous man on earth.

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