Mobile office hours

Today Allie and I drove to Tifton, two hours away, to meet with a couple members of Sen. David Perdue’s staff. It was the senator’s open office hours. He wasn’t there. He’s not holding a town hall during this legislative break, so that’s one of the things we went there to ask for, a town hall.

I told the young staffers that I’m a moderate, and there are a lot of conservative principles I hold dear. I said, I know the senator supports originalist appointees to the Supreme Court, and so I know too that he holds the Constitution in as high esteem as I do. So I was disappointed, I said, when one of his staff dismissed as “organized” and “manufactured” my fellow Georgians who exercised their First Amendment rights at a mobile office hours event last week in Greensboro. I said, I am also deeply troubled by the president’s assertion that the free press is “the enemy of the American people,” and I urged the senator to stand up against such un-American rhetoric.

The staffers were very polite, and they nodded a lot and furrowed their brows with concern and sympathy. They didn’t take but a few notes. I said, this nation is deeply divided, and this president is dividing us further still. He’s driving hundreds of people in my community into political activism, people who’ve never been involved before, and there are millions like them across the country. I urged the senator, through the staffers, to seize his capacity as a statesman with a growing national platform and stand up for the principles that have made the United States a beacon for freedom in the world.

I said, the Republicans and the Trump administration don’t have a mandate. That’s why people like me are showing up at protests, calling our senators’ offices every day, organizing — because we need to let it be known that we’re here, the same way our fellow citizens in the Tea Party did eight years ago. Our movements might represent different sides of the partisan idealogical divide, but at their core, they’re making the same cry: set policy that a strong majority of us can get behind, and lead us to a more perfect union.

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