Del. Ken Plum: You Hit Me First!

Del. Ken Plum/File photoThis is an opinion column by Del. Ken Plum (D), who represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now.

Every parent of two or more children has experienced this scenario: Two children in the back seat of a vehicle get bored. When no one is looking, the first child pokes or pinches the other. The victim yells or screams with lots of drama as to how they have been hurt or offended.

That gives the second child license to strike back just as the parents take note of what is happening. At that moment it looks like the second child is the offender and is given a punishment. The first child is amused, giggles and enjoys that the brother or sister having done nothing is suddenly in trouble.

This little tale is innocent enough as children grow up and learn through experience how to interact and relate to others. Not so innocent and very serious is the situation we have been witnessing for more than a year. The administration uses vile language that is offensive to all but some of its most ardent supporters.

The advocates for democracy and a fair and sane governmental framework criticize the administration. Representatives of the administration respond with name calling, falsehoods and extreme claims and criticisms. Any response by those who disagree is received with further name calling and false claims. Who is to blame for this exchange?

The administration has been successful at pointing fingers at their critics putting them on the defensive. These exchanges can be really tough to unravel especially with an administration that is willing to make up their own reality and tell out-right lies to justify their actions. Shouting matches often ensue; in the worst cases threats are made, and in an all-too-frequent occurrence violence takes place.

While I fully understand the desire on the part of some to yell and scream (I do so to myself frequently), the vile language and threats are examples of speaking past each other. I want to express in as strong terms as I can how upset and concerned I am about the actions of the government and this administration over the past months. I view them as a real threat to our democracy, immoral, and the lowest point we have seen as a society.

I will be present at as many vigils and marches as I can to join with those who want major and immediate changes to what is happening to our country. I will not call for nor participate in violence. I will support court actions to stop harmful activities by the administration as much as possible.

Most importantly I will work for Senate and Congressional candidates who are committed to stopping the damage of this administration and taking back our country from the special interests that have been allowed to run rampant in using the government for their personal profit. I will be tireless and will work to enlist people to join me and the thousands who are committed to reversing these dangerous directions.

I am not going to let the administration convince anyone else that someone else hit first. We need to stick together, be strategic in our responses, and be smarter than they are to reverse what is happening in our country. We can do that this November at the ballot boxes.

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