Today Chairman Matt Ames issued the following call to arms:
Call Gerry Connolly Today
Yesterday, Congressman Gerry Connolly sent the following tweet: “Maybe his enablers will rouse themselves when the Brownshirts come for them. I, for one, will resist.” If this doesn’t offend you, it should, regardless of your political leanings. This is not run-of-the-mill political invective, but short-sighted and dangerous talk.
For the uninitiated, the “Brownshirts” were the Nazi Party’s private army, formally known as the Sturmabteilung, or “SA”. They were Hitler’s political enforcers, numbering roughly three million at their peak. The SA committed countless crimes, including 1938’s infamous Kristallnacht, in which thousands of synagogues and Jewish businesses were destroyed, and tens of thousands of people killed and imprisoned.
Now, in all fairness, I’m not entirely certain who Gerry was referring to in his tweet. After all, it wasn’t masked Trump supporters who were breaking store windows in downtown Washington last week. It wasn’t the Tea Party that burned a Muslim limo driver’s car. And Republicans have no history of political violence that I’m aware of, unless you count the Civil War. Just so we’re clear, the Fairfax County GOP denounces the first two instances, and we’ll stand where our Party stood on that last one.
But I think it’s safe to say that Gerry had something else in mind, which is why we’re asking you to contact his office today and demand an apology. You can reach his office in DC at 202-225-1492 or click here to email him.
If Gerry Connolly wants to criticize Donald Trump on policy grounds, that’s well within his right. If he wants to make fun of the President’s hairstyle, that’s fine, too; childish, maybe, but certainly within bounds. There are lots of things Gerry can say and do to advance his political agenda, or block the Administration’s. But there are lines that must not be crossed, especially by a sitting member of the House of Representatives.
Here’s the problem: Gerry Connolly has constituents who know what totalitarian governments actually look like, and who have suffered the evil that they do. Our local Republican Party has members whose families, or who they themselves, left Europe one step ahead of the real Nazis; who left Castro’s Cuba, where to this day the slightest hint of political dissent is swiftly and viciously punished; who risked their lives to escape Communist Vietnam in the 1970s and 1980s; who gladly left authoritarian China and have since become proud American citizens. I myself grew up in countries where political kidnappings and killings were common, and tanks rolled through residential neighborhoods.
Gerry’s snarky tweet manages to malign the President, diminish the sacrifice and suffering of millions of Americans who have known real tyranny, and undermine faith in our system of government, all at once. As an act of subversion, it’s brilliant. As a statement by a sitting member of Congress, it’s a despicable lie.
There’s no doubt that President Trump is challenging Connolly’s perspective on how the world should work. There’s no doubt he presents himself as tough and uncompromising. (After all, if you know anything about American business, you know that the only thing tougher than a Manhattan real estate developer is a labor union negotiator.) There’s no doubt that his Administration plans big changes in Washington. But since when do Democrats object to tough politicians?
The central reason that Donald Trump was elected President is that far too many Americans have lost trust in our system of government. It’s not just on the right — Bernie Sanders supporters clearly have their own complaints. Connolly and his party should be trying to understand and respond to the deep concerns of all of those Americans, not creating further distrust. Instead of scoring points with his Twitter followers, Connolly needs to spend some time thinking about one area – just one – where maybe Donald Trump is right and he is wrong. That would be progress.
Sadly, Gerry missed what many of us think was the best line from President Trump’s inaugural address: “When you let patriotism into your heart, there is no room for prejudice.”
If you love your country and care about good government, tell Connolly to act like a responsible adult. Tell him he’s crossed the line, and if he has any respect for the system that elected him, he must apologize.
Call 202-225-1492 or email him by clicking here.
Statement can also be found here.