OPINION: Yelling at politicians while they eat isn’t going to change public policy

Oct 22, 2018, 2:57 PM

A video was released by TMZ on Saturday of a customer in a restaurant screaming into the face of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky.

Apparently, the man in the video disagreed with Mitch McConnell’s stances on healthcare and social security. And so he decided there was no better way to help McConnell see healthcare in a new light than to interrupt him in the middle of a meal, throw his food into the street, and scream: “Why don’t you get out of here?”

Y’know what’s really upsetting about this? These are actually great issues to discuss. I would love it if we could sit down and have a serious talk about the future of healthcare and social security in this country.

But when did people start thinking the best way to get legislation passed is screaming at old men while they eat?

Screaming at politicians is becoming a trend

Sen. Jeff Flake shows an audience a video of himself getting yelled at by a woman in an elevator, Monday, Oct. 1, 2018, in Boston. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)

Yelling at politicians is the new hip trend.

This is what all the cool kids are doing right now. They find politicians they disagree with – and by “find” them, I mean, stalk them – wait until they’re sitting down to a nice meal with their families, and then they scream at them until they change their political views.

This isn’t the first time this has happened this year. It isn’t even the first time it’s happened to Mitch McConnell this year.

In June, he was accosted outside of Georgetown University by some students screaming: “How does he sleep at night?” And in July, he was confronted in another restaurant by a whole group of people, one of them yelling: “We know where you live!”

We’re even encouraging it at this point. During the Brett Kavanaugh trial, two women accosted Sen. Jeff Flake in an elevator and yelled at him for supporting Kavanaugh. The Washington Post’s headline for that story was: “Did two women just change everything?

They didn’t, by the way. Jeff Flake voted to confirm Kavanaugh. As it turns out, Supreme Court justice appointments aren’t decided by screaming at people in elevators.

The thought that this type of thing is going to change legislation is insane. But people keep doing this kind of thing, and we keep encouraging them to do it.

There are even people cheering on the guy who accosted Mitch McConnell on Friday.

Salon’s take on this story? “To hell with civility.

We are scaring politicians away

Mitch McConnell

File photo of Mitch McConnell from May 15, 2018. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Why do we think this is okay?

Why do we think we think that, if we get into somebody’s face and start screaming at them, they’re just going to go: “Y’know what, when you threw my food into the street, you really gave me a whole new perspective on health care reform?”

It doesn’t work in parenting, it doesn’t work in relationships, and it doesn’t work in the workforce. Why do we think it’s going to work in politics?

If you want somebody to change their mind, you put their arm around them, be their friend, and you have a civil conversation. You don’t scream in their faces. You talk to them like an equal, with respect.

Screaming at political figures is just going to scare them away.

Think about what we do with our athletes. We love them, and so we mob them and try to take pictures with them. And what happens? They go underground.

I know Utah Jazz players that will purposely not show up to a movie until halfway through the trailers, just so that people don’t rush them asking for pictures. They’ll wait until the lights are down and the music is up, and they’ll roll in with sunglasses in a hoodie just to avoid having people fawn over them.

You turn all that attention negative, and they won’t just show up in a hoodie. They’ll just disappear.

We’re making public officials live like hostages in their own homes. We’re scaring them out of ever going outside, and when we do that, we’re losing our chance to interact with them. We’re losing those chances to get a feel for what they’re like outside of campaign commercials.

I’m all for talking about health care and social security. I think it’s a great way to have a discussion. But this isn’t a good way to do it.

Mitch McConnell was just trying to have a meal with family.

Let the guy eat.

More to the story

I talked to my special guest Ethan Millard about this on Dave & Dujanovic, and he offered some great other perspectives on this. You can hear everything he had to say about it on the Dave & Dujanovic podcast.

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon on KSL Newsradio. Users can find the show on the KSL Newsradio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.

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OPINION: Yelling at politicians while they eat isn’t going to change public policy