The power of an alarmed citizenry

“Yes, Mr. Soto?” the woman on the phone says, in the manner of a restaurant hostess acknowledging a demanding regular. She also sounds like one of my great aunts. Three mornings a week since late January I will call the Miami-Dade office of the Plankton with a Hairpiece, aka Marco Rubio, and lodge a protest. At the beginning I kept a list. The nominations of Betsy DeVos and Scott Pruitt. The firing of James Comey. Bringing any version of a health care bill forward that gives tax breaks to millionaires and starves the poor. Carlos Curbelo’s hometown office gets calls too. Grinding work, but undemanding work too. I’ve tried calling Governor Rick Scott’s office too in the hopes that he can use leverage against Rubio.

Imagine this work duplicated tenfold, a thousandfold — in the offices of Governors Brian Sandoval of Nevada and Doug Ducey of Arizona. Imagine the will of hundreds of wheelchair-bound victims of chronic diseases that the health industry euphemistically calls pre-existing conditions; they showed up to these offices and demanded satisfaction. They spooked their governors, who in turn spooked the likes of John McCain, a man who needs resentment like others need sex. Nevertheless, for quietly extending the rope with which Mitch McConnell hanged himself and his grisly reputation for sharp tactics, he deserves thanks. So do Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski; the former never wavered, the latter endured calls from truculent Trump thugs. Another courageous legislator: Mazie Herono of Hawaii, living with stage 4 liver cancer, demanding compassion from colleagues more apt to demand it from the liveried server at a Republican retreat in Pennsylvania.

But the primary credit goes to those ordinary citizens. Charles Pierce:

The primary force driving the events of Thursday night and Friday morning was the energy and (yes) persistence of all those people who swamped town hall meetings, who wrote, or called, or e-mailed various congresscritters to show them what real political pressure felt like. I remember watching town halls in Maine, to which people drove hundreds of miles to tell Susan Collins what they thought. Those people bucked up vulnerable Democratic senators so that Chuck Schumer could count on a united Congress.

So we beat on, returning to the task on Monday morning.

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