Today, Tea Party Patriots from across the nation spent most of the day in DC visiting a variety of Senator’s offices to express our opinion that they should not pass the health care reform bill currently before the Senate. Most staffers were polite enough, though usually we were not permitted any time to speak with a Senator or senior staff. However, clearly the Tea Party Patriots were making their presence known in the Senate office buildings as we executed operation Government Waiting Rooms. As we sat waiting to speak to Senators who wouldn’t show their faces, we got the feeling of what it would be like in government controlled health care system; lots of waiting and no results.
The day turned far more interesting when we heard that Senator Joe Lieberman was on the fence. Three of us decided to head up to the seventh floor to see if the Senator would spare a few minutes and speak with us about his position on the pending bill. Accompanied by fellow Tea Party Patriot National Coordinator Sally Oljar, and California Patriot Michael Greer, I entered Lieberman’s office and we asked to speak with him. We were advised that he wasn’t there, but as we had done in all the previous offices we had visited, we indicated that we’d be happy to wait for him.
Unfortunately, Sen., Lieberman’s staff reacted quite differently than all the other staff we had encountered. The gentleman who appeared to be in charge told us that we had to leave the Senator’s office. He kept repeating that the Senator would not be meeting with us, and that he wanted us to leave. As we sat peacefully in the small waiting room, I simply responded to him by telling him that we were happy to wait. When he again insisted we leave, we engaged in a civil discussion where we advised him that as citizens, we felt we had a right to be there, in a building which we pay for. Finally, he threatened to call the Capitol Police and have us arrested for “loitering.;” We advised him to do whatever he needed to do, but that we weren’t leaving.
Eventually, six armed Capitol Police arrived. One officer entered the waiting room and advised us that the staffer was asking us to leave, and that if we didn’t leave, we’d be arrested. I asked the officer if it was a police request that we leave, and told him that we were law abiding citizens and would leave if he asked us to. He seemed hesitant to do so, and ultimately left the room to speak with the staffer without asking us to leave. After several minutes of pow-wow between the officers and the staffer, we decided to leave before the situation escalated further. It was clear, with six officers on hand, they did intend to arrest us.
All across the country, Senators refuse our calls, ignore our emails, throw away our letters and refuse to meet with us.. Today — in the Senate office building — Senate staff literally threatened to arrest three members of the Tea Party Patriots, including two National Coordinators. When one of the most “moderate” Senators threatens to have well groomed, quiet, cooperative tea partiers arrested simply for sitting in the office waiting to meet with a Senator, it is clear that representative democracy is on its death bed in this country.
Sound too outrageous to believe? Watch the video and see your government at work.
Mark Meckler is on the Board of Directors of Tea Party Patriots and is a national Tea Party organizer. www.teapartypatriots.org