I’m going to start with something I said yesterday, but then watch what happens next.
In Los Gatos, California, the city council is angry that their meetings are being “hijacked” by public comment from vicious right-wing Trump people. Sample local headlines:
Los Gatos mayor faces anti-LGBTQ demonstrators
‘You Are Not God’: Los Gatos Mayor targeted by anti-vaccine, anti-LGBTQ demonstrators
QAnon Types Hijacking Los Gatos Council Meetings, Declaring LGBTQ a ‘Terrorist Organization’
And so the local news stories say things like this:
Assemblymember Evan Low and Sen. Dave Cortese sent a letter to Town Manager Laurel Prevetti denouncing the disruption of government meetings and asking the town to explain its policy on harassment of public leaders, whether it extends to their families, and what steps staff have taken to prevent bullying of elected officials.
The letter also asked Prevetti to acknowledge that the elected officials have been subjected to bullying and harassment during meetings. `
Now: If you’re cool with that, and you accept the premise that it’s obnoxious and horrible for anti-vaxxers and anti-LGBT speakers to “hijack” city council meetings by speaking at public comment, which is “bullying,” then here’s the next thing for you to consider:
Three hundred miles to the South, the Pasadena City Council is also concerned that their meetings are being “hijacked.” They use the same word. And so the mayor of Pasadena is implementing changes to the city’s public comment policy, channeling and limiting public comment, to stop loud and angry extremists from hijacking the council meetings by speaking during the designated public comment period.
But in this case, these hijackers are leftist police reformers from anti-racist groups like BLM and SURJ. You can watch them hijack the council meeting here, for example, on March 22, as they tell the council that Pasadena police are murderers, and as the first speaker describes councilmembers “as they stare vacantly and sit in their racist stupor.”
Elected officials in Los Gatos believe their meetings are being hijacked because people on the political right are speaking to them in angry and demeaning language, and they want the speakers to be silenced; elected officials in Pasadena believe their meetings are being hijacked because people on the political left are speaking to them in angry and demeaning language, and they want the speakers to be silenced.
You can’t accept one but decline the other. You can only accept both, or accept neither. If you accept the premise that someone can properly be silenced, that some public speech at council meetings is “hijacking” and can be stopped, then you accept the premise.
And then you’re next, and you can’t complain about it.
Well, sure. But I bet those angry extremists from both cities would probably get along better with one another, if they were to have an open discussion of their respective concerns, than either of them do with their "elected officials".
Left vs Right is just the old divide & conquer. Arbitrary lines that are constantly being forgotten and redrawn. It's not the ends against the middle here, it's the bottom of the pyramid against the top. The establishment isn't ever concerned about being disenfranchised, because these "public comment" sessions are just an unpleasant little appendix of ceremony that these political lackeys must perform, while they get on with the real business of their donors and other worthy constituents. The opinions and desires of the important people have much more effective channels and venues. Always have.
I respectfully submit: if they need to make a law to “shut us up” then somebody’s listening somewhere. Even if it’s just annoying at least they’re listening, right? And if they get to propose their law to “shut us up”, Then maybe we, as Citizens, can make a law that forces them to make good decisions that don’t drive us so crazy that we have to go to public meetings and shout at them for two hours. Oh, wait. Isn’t that the point of the public comment? To get direct feedback from the actual public they represent so they can make course corrections? “We the people“ Are not sophisticated enough to understand the intricacies of local politics and the complexities of budget management and how the disruption of the corruption causes so many problems for so few people. Sit down shut up and get with the program. Oh wait, what’s the program again? As soon as they figure it out maybe they will tell us. Maybe the extremists are the ones sitting behind the desk holding the gavel? Some of the laws that they are proposing at this point are certainly extreme if not outright illegal. I suggest that SB1100 Is a symptom of the problem, not actually the problem….and is another major alarm bell for what is going wrong with the state of CA at this time, make no mistake - we’re in trouble.