Weeks of impeachment hearings that have mocked fairness and transparency have subsequently spilled over to other congressional activities.

Scuffles broke out this weekend during a town hall event in California to mark the recent passage of US legislation officially commemorating the Armenian genocide.

It wasn’t the topic that was the center of the fracas. Anti-impeachment demonstrators attended to protest keynote speaker, Congressman Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank), who is at the center of the effort to impeach President Donald Trump.

The video below depicts the scene, and it shows several members of the audience were booing Schiff as during introductions.

Then, Schiff began to address the crowd:

“…The reason why it was so important is that it was so bipartisan, so overwhelmingly, is that it shouldn’t be a partisan issue. The facts in history are the factions in history: They will not be denied.”

And while it is clear that Schiff was referencing the slaughter of Armenians, the statement was more than anti-impeachment demonstrators could bear. The protesters began shouting, “Liar.” The demonstrators also yelled that Schiff should be in jail.

Tensions quickly escalated, especially after Schiff supporters began chanting “Adam.” In response, Trump supporters unfurled a banner. Audience members who yelled at Schiff also removed their jackets, revealing shirts supporting Trump.

The ruckus began shortly after, as protesters refused to leave, and personal space was being invaded (by whom, it is difficult to say from the video). Passions ran high on both sides.

Police were called in to handle the situation.

Glendale police officers were called and some of the audience members left and did not return to the 2-hour presentation.

There were no arrests made, according to police.

I am of two minds about how the choice the anti-impeachment demonstrators made to convey their message to Schiff.

One on hand, independent conservatives do not appreciate it when our speakers are interrupted by shouts and incivility. There are also the downsides of making Schiff a free-speech martyr and Armenian-Americans having a joyful moment tainted with political toxicity.

“Unfortunately, some came to the event with the intent to disrupt, but the Armenian community has had to overcome far greater challenges along the road to recognition than to be deterred by a few angry voices,” said Schiff, who as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee has helped lead the Trump impeachment investigation.

In a statement, the Armenian committee said what made the interruptions that much more “egregious” was that descendants of genocide survivors were in the room, many of them elderly, who had waited for the passage of such resolutions their entire lives and had attended the event to express their gratitude to all those who supported the cause for decades.

“While, as Americans, we value our right to freedom of speech, today’s actions by a select few were designed to disrupt an event that had no connection to recent political divisions and disrespected the memory of the victims of the Armenian Genocide,” the statement said.

On the other hand, Schiff has opted to be an impeachment activist instead of a representative of his constituency. It is doubtful that any polite, civilly presented message would have conveyed the anger being felt by California’s Trump supporters nearly as well.

Perhaps Schiff can thank his colleague, Rep. Maxine Waters, from the warm greeting he received in Glendale.

For three years, President Donald Trump and his supporters have faced hoaxes, forced out of restaurants, and smeared in the national press on false charges.

Recently, a 14-year old boy was assaulted on a school bus by a pack of teens for the crime of having previously worn a Trump hat.

While I prefer a thoughtful approach in policy disagreements, I am not a fan of allowing political opponents to follow asymmetrical rules of engagement while I maintain civility.

 

 
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