Joe Barbieri ’23
While participating in ongoing protests against police brutality in Minnesota, Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA) sparked controversy with recent comments suggesting that protestors should “get more confrontational” to make “sure that they know that we mean business.”
The issue of police brutality must be addressed. The killings of George Floyd, Daunte Wright, and Adam Toledo are unacceptable and those responsible must be brought to justice.
In response to these tragic killings, we are reminded of the sacred right to protest in America and it is more important than ever to exercise this constitutional right.
However, in light of Representative Waters’ comments, it is also important to commit to a peaceful and respectful form of protest, one that is inclusive to all.
The only way to create meaningful dialogue to address police brutality is to listen to those we disagree with. We must hear each other out, understand where one is coming from, and find the middle ground in order to solve real issues in this country.
The past comments of Representative Waters are also troubling. For example, Waters told supporters at a rally to confront and harass members of the Trump administration, saying that:
“If you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd. And you push back on them. And you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.”
These and recent comments made by Waters in response to those who hold different political beliefs are demeaning and beneath a member of Congress.
It is important to mention that I am not criticizing Waters just because we hold very different political beliefs. I have written and been a fervent critic of other members of Congress, especially Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) who I believe should be expelled from Congress.
Representative Waters’s comments are unacceptable and she should apologize. Instead of creating a divide, it is ever important to create effective dialogue amongst those we do not see eye to eye with on fundamental issues. This is the only way to solve pressing issues.
Harassing and pushing back will only create a more hostile America where a middle ground will be hard to reach.