It’s dumb mistake that almost all elected officials succumb to at one time or another, but with a relatively experienced politician like Thom Tillis, you think he’d already know better. Unfortunately, it looks like North Carolina’s junior senator will have to learn his lesson the hard way.
And that lesson?
Don’t disrespect your constituents.
Oh, there’s no doubt it’s got to be tempting — especially when the constituents in question are protesters who disagree with your actions on their behalf. But, make no mistake, today’s unfortunate action by Senator Tillis and his staff to refuse access to his Raleigh office — even to folks that merely wanted to deliver a letter on the Senate healthcare bill on behalf of the 100+ protesters outside — was a major blunder. (Note: A Facebook report from High Point indicates Tillis has called in the police to keep wild and crazy protesters away there as well.)
Instead of simply receiving — and maybe even, God forbid, patiently listening to — the heartfelt pleas of the assembled activists who braved the heat and humidity to turn out for the umpteenth straight Tuesday, Tillis’ people called out the security and the yellow police tape to keep constituents away. Click here to listen to a very nonthreatening protester named Michael Eisenberg explain in a Facebook video how he was denied the opportunity to deliver a letter to his senator.
The bottom line: Today’s protest was another all-American, wholesome-as-apple-pie effort by an incredibly earnest and caring group of citizens — many of them grandparents and moms with kids in strollers. The featured speaker, Orange County physician Erica Pettigrew, gave a fabulous and heartfelt description of some of her struggling clients who would be grievously harmed by the U.S. Senate’s Trumpcare proposal. It’s simply outrageous that Tillis and Richard Burr will not even meet with and listen to such loving and intelligent people.
Unfortunately for Tillis (and fortunately for the growing movement against his policy positions), today’s boneheaded decision to shut the protesters out and treat them with such little respect all but guarantees that more and more people will be heeding future protest calls. Stay tuned. There may be a time in the not-too-distant future in which Tillis looks back longingly on the 29% approval rating he enjoys today.