Donkey Pinatas Are Expendable. Democracy Is Not.

Posted: Sep 01, 2009 11:22 PM
I showed up at Rep. Steny Hoyer’s town hall with an obnoxious sign, my trusty donkey pinata, and an indignant sense of superiority that at least on this evening, the Dems were going down.

I left with only my indignant sense of superiority in tact.
There was the typical commotion one would expect from the largest grassroots conservative political movement you could ask for. The line of Americans that that snaked out of North High School didn’t even come close to fitting into the school’s gymnasium, which reportedly fit over 1,500. One protester got hustled out by the cops for reasons that were predictably unclear. The Congressman got yells and jeers when he so much as sniffed into the mike.
I just so happened to sit down next to a bunch of union organizers, who were pooling the tickets they had received upon entering the auditorium. Halfway through the event, one of her minions came up to her, and obediently delivered one of the tickets that had been called. She took the question, and yelled loudly that she was proud she had the privilege of being represented by Hoyer.

The only thing she really should’ve been proud of was her organizing skills. Conservative cheering outweighed liberal chants; it was clear the room was dominated by the right. Yet liberals asked most of the questions. Check out the video that’ll be up tomorrow, where she explains, on camera, that “pooling tickets” is something everyone does.


Steny himself deferred crowd management to a sort of enforcer figure who frequently chided the audience to “calm down.” It was lame. And Hoyer designed half the event to be eaten up by a panel of selected constituents who supported his position. In other words, he did everything he could do avoid protesters and drown out the opposition.

Which is what he’s supposed to do, of course. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it. My sign was confiscated at the door by his security detail. The cops made me ditch my donkey pi?ata in the trash can, which I promptly ripped apart, spewing the fake money I had placed inside of it all over the place – at which point the cop threatened to give me a ciatation for littering. And frankly, for the number two Democrat in the House who has so much at stake with such an important issue, I would’ve appreciated a little more deference to what was clearly an angry, angry crowd.

Hoyer just shrugged us off.