From Judd Dunham, who wrote earlier today about his encounter with Senator Portman, below is an open letter to the Portman staff who helpfully arranged today’s private meeting with constituents on what comes next:
Just wanted to thank you again for restoring some faith in human decency and American democracy today . I know that must sound absurd but really I hope you realize that for a group of people like us to do what we did today is actually totally abnormal. None of us is part of some organized group, none of us is being paid to do any of this, and most of us are not the kind of people who relish in person conflict or risk taking of any kind.
I have to say we all assumed we’d get thrown out by the cops or someone else, and nobody would have believed we’d get a 30 minute audience with the Senator. I think that took guts and I applaud you and him for it.
I do however want to reiterate that we had one purpose showing up today: to get the Senator to agree to an in person, opt-in, open to the public constituent event somewhere in Ohio, soon. There are too many gravely concerned citizens (not just Democrats!) who are floored by both the rapid hard right turn of this administration as well as the attacks against our institutions and democracy itself by the bomb throwers that surround the President. Steve Bannon is a danger to the country, he is not a conservative and the Trump team is filled with people like that. People are scared and they need some reassurance that their elected officials are not just going to go along with the President on everything because it’s politically expedient right now or a means to a policy end.
I realize that the Senator feels he’s doing enough on this front but the fact that people like us came out today and did what we did ought to be proof that it’s not enough. There are way too many people like us who feel they are suddenly shut out of American democracy – a majority in fact, given that more people voted against Trump and against Republican legislators nationwide than voted for them. Our congressional districts have been gerrymandered, we have a popular vote loser as president and a Supreme Court seat that most of us feel was stolen from the last president – to stop meeting in person simply because people are angry and tend to shout a bit too much isn’t just cowardly, it’s dangerous. There needs to be an outlet.
As we said in the meeting: this group here today, and we can find more to supplement us, are ready to work directly with you to organize an event that will be as peaceful, productive and constructive as our little session was today. We deeply appreciate the time the Senator took with us today but we will not be satisfied until people who cannot randomly take a Friday morning off work or who don’t have the guts to stake out elevators and confront staffers can have the same opportunity as we got. I hope you understand and I hope we can work together to make something great happen because as Marcy from our group said towards the end, the country sure needs it.