Top Democrats Under Fire for Urging 'Civility' in Face of Trump Agenda
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) didn’t issue a single word of public criticism of their fellow Democrats for voting to deregulate Wall Street and hand President Donald Trump immense spying powers, but on Monday the Democratic Party heads lectured their colleagues and grassroots activists on the need for “civility” in the face of Trump’s vicious attacks on immigrant families, the poor, and the planet.
Drawing swift backlash from activists who led the opposition to Trump’s cruel family separation policy by greeting White House officials with protests inside restaurants and outside of their homes, Schumer claimed in a speech on the Senate floor on Monday that directly confronting members of the Trump administration over their hate-filled and destructive policies is “not American”—a clear rebuke to Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), who called on Americans to publicly shame Cabinet officials.
“Schumer is being more critical of Maxine Waters than he’s ever been of ICE,” independent journalist Eoin Higgins observed.
“All of the liberal politicians and pundits who shouted ‘this is not normal’ for a year are now telling us to be civil to the people ripping apart families,” Margaret McLaughlin, a member of the Metro D.C. branch of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), added after Pelosi similarly rebuked Waters’ call for direct confrontation. “Y’all are fuckin’ hypocrites.”
The criticism of the Democratic leadership’s refusal to sufficiently meet the threat Trump poses to vulnerable communities continued to pile up on Monday, just 24 hours after White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked to leave a restaurant over her constant lies—and occasional Bible references—in defense of the president’s policies.
“Schumer and Pelosi have to go,” concluded writer Sean Collins.
Help me out here.
2,000 kids are still being held hostage to convince their parents to self-deport, assuming the Trump Admin can even locate them, right?
Why isn't Chuck Schumer talking about that?
— emptywheel (@emptywheel) June 25, 2018
Seems to me that Democrats and their pundits should worry more about how to win in November than moaning about civility. Civility?! I swear before god every time I see shit like this I wanna yell YALL DO NOT WANT TO WIN.
— Alicia Garza (@aliciagarza) June 26, 2018
I'm always thrown by people who think bombs and war perfectly rational but disturbing a rich person's evening beyond the pale. “civility” LOL but for whom?
— Sarah Jaffe (@sarahljaffe) June 25, 2018
We're being held to a standard of civility when Donald Trump isn't even being held to a standard of constitutionality.
Asymmetrical Political Warfare. If we play by their rules, we've already lost.
— Benjamin Dixon? (@BenjaminPDixon) June 26, 2018
“Ostracizing Trump administration officials in public isn’t rude. It’s necessary,” concluded The Week’s Ryan Coooper in a column on Monday.
Eddie Glaude, professor of religion and African-American studies at Princeton University, observed in a tweet that calls for “civility” have frequently been used by powerful throughout American history to deligitimize dissent against the prevailing status quo.
“‘Civility’ has been (and continues to be) invoked to constrain and limit the form and character of dissent by the powers that be,” Glaude noted.
Concluding with a quote from the novelist and civil rights activist James Baldwin, Glaude added: “But most would agree these are times that require us ‘to ask very hard questions and take very rude positions. And no matter at what the price.’ “