Letter to Editior for Spring 2017
Bridenstine Town Hall
On Tuesday, April 11, Jim Bridenstine, Oklahoma First District Congressman hosted a “Securing America Town Hall” at 6:30 P.M. in the Maybee Center at ORU (Oral Roberts University). The meeting had been advertized for a few weeks and the Congressional office had advised there was substantial Internet communication among the “professional disrupters” (protesters) to show up prepared.
Being a staunch supporter, and very proud constituent, of the Congressman it was compelling for me to be present. In addition, because of previous disruptions of his speeches to private groups, it seemed incumbent on me to make plans and obtain approval to video the meeting. His staff, very supportive and courteous, allowed me to set up next to the audio control panel box on the middle ramp around the arena. Thus, my position allowed me to pan to all sides below me, as well as the stage.
It was appalling to me to see the lack of consideration and the rudeness shown by the “pink-shirted,” and probably paid, protesters toward those of us who really wanted to hear what the Congressman had to say. After reviewing the video, it reinforced my feelings of being offended. When operating the camera one is often so busy keeping it in focus that things are not committed to memory. They had concentrated in groups scattered around the arena so that they could make more interrupting and insulting loud shouts, and some standing up to block the view of those sitting behind them. They really roared in objection and “boos” when Congressman Jim said simply “no” when asked if he would vote to “fund Planned Parenthood.”
Unfortunately, I was not able to notice if they stood for the Pledge of Allegiance, but would not be at all surprised if they did not. The music program before the opening included the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and “Stand Up For America,” the latter of which the ones around me did NOT rise out of their seats. Thus a question about their actual loyalty and patriotism toward the USA
During thoughts in the days following, the question has risen in my mind about what appears to be a total “double standard” in treatment of different groups that may be demonstrating. One of my friends, a USAF retired Major, has advised me that when he goes to participate in a protest over abortion, the group is required to stay across the street from the “clinic.” That being true, it bugs me that these far more aggressive and rude “protesters” are not required to stand across the street. It the last case, the venue was the Mabee Center on the Oral Roberts Campus, so they could, and should, have been required to stay across South Lewis Avenue or East 81st Street South, and NOT interfere in any way with the movement of the attendees in or out.
At least in the case of the Bridenstine “Town Meeting” no violence was observed by me, other than the verbal attacks on him. A news story on the meeting stated that he had thought about asking them “if you hate me so much, why didn’t you have a candidate against me last year.” That would have been very favorably received by those of us fully approving of his service, both Navy, OK Air Guard, and Congress. Because the Navy would not allow him flight status while serving in the Congress, he transferred to the OK Air Guard (to avoid “cloud fatigue?” as is affecting me).
It is strongly hoped that the new Administration will take a strong and more even handed attitude and aggressive action on these situations as soon as the new administrators are settled in and have the attention of their inherited “bureaucrat” staffers. I can’t wait to see the results with no more of the destruction and trashing of property that has been common the last decade. Each person’s “Constitutionally guaranteed civil rights” ends at the “air space” of each of the rest of us.
Robert W. McDowell, Jr.
Broken Arrow, OK