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Sat Jun 30, 2018, 08:05 PM

Commentary: Maxine Waters deserves better from her party [View all]

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/commentary/ct-perspec-maxine-waters-democrats-trump-pelosi-0629-20180628-story.html

Commentary: Maxine Waters deserves better from her party
Solomon Jones


After U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., implored Americans of good conscience to publicly confront White House officials over their policies, leading Democrats joined with Republicans to denounce Waters’ comments as uncivil.

It was one of the few acts of bipartisanship that Democrats have engaged in since the advent of the Trump administration, and it was by far the most harmful. Not only because Waters, who lived through the civil rights movement, understands that oppressors do not buckle to civility. It was harmful because Waters’ fellow Democrats — including leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer — wrongly believe that tyranny can be combated with polite discourse.


snip//

House Minority Leader Pelosi called Waters’ comments “unacceptable” before tweeting that “we must strive to make America beautiful again. Trump’s daily lack of civility has provoked responses that are predictable but unacceptable. As we go forward, we must conduct elections in a way that achieves unity from sea to shining sea.”

Then there was Senate Minority Leader Schumer, who took to the Senate floor to denounce Waters. “We all have to remember to treat our fellow Americans, all of our fellow Americans, with the kind of civility and respect we expect will be afforded to us,” he said. “No one should call for the harassment of political opponents. That's not right. That’s not American.”

Except harassing political opponents is profoundly American. Ask black survivors of the civil rights movement who faced the political effort to deny them the vote. Ask Native Americans about the political machinations that landed them on reservations. Ask those who look at the present political climate and see a repeat of the past.

We live in a time when discriminatory policies come out of the White House and are seemingly rubber-stamped by the Supreme Court.

When America’s highest court upholds a ban on travelers from mostly Muslim countries, and supports what lower courts have called racist gerrymandering in Texas, and affirms voter suppression through the purging of voter rolls in Ohio, dissent cannot be polite, and opposition must not be muted.

The officials in the Trump administration work for us. And if they are not working in our best interests, we must confront them. We must rebuke them. We must correct them.

If Waters’ fellow Democrats aren’t willing to do that, they should step aside and let Waters lead.

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