Readers upset by column on political ‘activists’

Chuck Doud’s Editor’s Corner column on alleged telephone harassment by Democrats of U.S. Rep. Tom McClintock’s office aroused a strong reaction online this week. Below are some excerpts.

  • Michelle Duncan” wrote: “Maybe people actually want answers to questions that never get answered.”

  • KateFrances Hege” wrote: “This is defamation, just as McClintock’s chief of staff defamed the calling group. Talk with your legal counsel. You have exposure for libel.”

  • Robert Ramsey-Lewis” wrote: “No effort was made to talk with people expressing their right to redress grievances. Call people names, demeaning democratic practices and poor journalism is disgusting. The corrupt at all levels of government and business get very nervous when ‘We the People’ challenge their grip on our republic ... the hit piece is but an example.”

  • Kathleen Gramsgibbs” quoted the column’s reference to caller demands that McClintock hold town hall-style meeting on various liberal causes. She continued: “What’s wrong with this? Constituents who want to speak with their congressman? Who do you think pays McClintock’s salary?”

  • Pat” wrote: “I am one of those ‘Democrat activists’ in Rep. McClintock’s district. ... I have called my congressman’s office a number of times. I have always gotten right through whether I called his D.C. office or Roseville. I have always been polite and taken three or four minutes of the staffer’s time. … I have never made a demand. I have called to express my concerns or opinions about current events ... I feel that calling my representative is both my right and my obligation because — wait for it — he is supposed to be representing me!”

  • NCG” replied to “Pat”: “I don’t feel sorry for McClintock. In April 2009, after Obama assumed the office of POTUS, McClintock urged his Tea Party supporters to ‘agitate, agitate, agitate.’ I have been to McClintock town halls and noticed most of the people he calls ‘radicals’ are women and men who appear to be of retirement age. I will always be grateful to these wise ‘radicals’ who have taken the time to analyze legislation then speak out against a public servant who seems to be more concerned with making the rich richer than working to improve the health and safety of District 4 citizens.”

  • David Barr” wrote: “Isn’t it funny that when the Dems have the White House and majority in Congress they want bipartisanship and accuse the Reps of obstruction.”

  • Laura Mulvihill” replied: “Funny the GOP want bipartisanship now. I remember the nomination of Merrick Garland. Enough said.”

  • Barr” responded: “You’re right. Both sides can’t get it together. They both need a civics lesson about what ‘the common good’ means.”

  • Mulvihill” answered: “That would be nice. Maybe someday. Right now we seem to hold our media, stars and sports stars to a higher standard than our president. It is sad.”

  • Toni Gomez” wrote: “You might be on the side of alternative facts, but perhaps your article could actually cite some? How many calls is Tom’s office receiving? What evidence do you have that constituents can’t get through because of ‘outsiders’?”

  • Matt Henderson” wrote: “This ‘reporting’ is complete nonsense, and propaganda —  nothing more. Rep McClintock does not even attempt to represent all of his constituents faithfully. He panders to a right-wing minority that he believes are his ‘real’ constituents. ... If McClintock would hear all the voices in his district, and acknowledge their input genuinely, he would not be having a problem now.”

  • Margaret Sloan” wrote: “I don’t want to tie up his phones. I want to tell him my concerns. So far he has never responded, despite invitations to do so.”

  • Shirley Knollenberg Smith” wrote: “Attack? You have got to be kidding us! Expressing our concern and wanting to promote change is our constitutional right! This man has done nothing but lie to the voters who trusted him. I am not a Democrat but even I can see this man is up to no good!”

  • Suzanne Elizabeth” wrote: “While I strongly oppose Tom McClintock on the issues mentioned (LGBTQ rights, health care, environment), my larger concern is his continued support of Donald Trump ... (who acts out of self-interest and) is inciting conflict within our country and globally. As a nation, we have never faced such threats — and it is not because of previous failed policy. It is because of the aggression and ineptitude of the current president ... I’m a registered Democrat, as are many of the protestors. So we aren’t ‘pseudo’ Dems. Just Dems. ”

  • KM Sandler” wrote: “I’m an activist Democrat and as one of Rep McClintock’s constituents, I have every right to call his office to urge the congressman to vote in a way that I think is best for the country. … The Tea Party activists didn’t sit on their hands. They got loud at town hall meetings, and it’s a given that they ‘tied up’ phone lines. Did you object then? Please be aware that Democrats in the 4th District are just as patriotic and passionate about our country and its people as the Republicans. When we see a problem, we speak up — loudly.”

  • Tiffany Newberry” wrote: “Yep, we up here in the boonies can get really testy when our representative, who is supposed to represent us, votes for a bill that could close the only hospital in Mariposa. Nobody I know has a speed dial phone, but many are upset enough about the looming disaster that is Trumpcare to spend our time and money doing what we can to avoid millions of people, mostly in rural areas, lose meaningful health insurance.”

  • Francine Mejia” wrote: “I think both sides can be extreme. I think the huge divide between political parties is concerning. I read all those comments from people who replied, (and) wow, the divide just grows, just as the hostility. Even with that, I think it is important to be able to express one’s views, and I am glad to see that so many in Madera have a platform to do so.”

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