It’s a shame that the hoi polloi doesn’t know how to behave itself when it gets uptown. A couple of hundred people showed up at Roy Blunt’s St. Louis office on Thursday to urge him to recuse himself from Republican attacks on Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. But, geez, you’d think they were Tea Partiers the way they were yelling and jumping around.
A coalition of progressive groups got this crowd together to scold Roy Blunt for trying to make the middle class and the poor bear all the brunt of our tough economic times. And I get their point. Doesn’t seem right, does it, that some school districts are forced to go to four day school weeks, and one little town in Texas just fired its entire police force because it couldn’t afford to pay four officers. But Exxon Mobil, the most profitable corporation on the face of the planet, has gotta have its tax breaks.
Our Republican senator from Missouri believes that this is the normal order of life. We, of course, well, … we disagree. But is that any excuse for being boorish and crass at the corner of Bonhomme and Hanley? This rally was in the heart of the high rent district. Clayton even has a local ordinance against the use of bullhorns, so at least the protesters weren’t allowed to embarrass themselves with one.
I mean. Could we please have a little decorum?
Decorum is what we got when two police officers and a couple of suits escorted me and three representatives of the protesters along the hushed, tastefully lit third floor corridor of 7700 Bonhomme, where Blunt has his office. Inside, the milieu was more refined. Two Blunt staffers greeted us cordially, gave us their cards, invited us to sit in the high backed leather chairs and urged the three to speak their minds.
Which they did. Kirsten Dunham, who works with Paraquad, pointed out that it makes more sense to give people in wheelchairs minimal home help to keep them out of expensive nursing homes. Judith Parker, of Alliance for Retired Americans, spoke of the dread many seniors feel for themselves and their children in the face of cuts to social services. And although she represents seniors, she ended by pointing out that one in four children in Missouri go to bed hungry at night. Unbelievable in this wealthy country. The Reverend Carlton Stock, whose Presbyterian church is in a low income neighborhood, talked about the efforts he sees among the poor to survive and indeed to advance themselves.
After Blunt’s office director, Mary Beth Wolf, had asked Rev. Stock a couple of questions to draw him out about the work of his church, Stock asked for a face to face meeting with Blunt before the end of the debt ceiling negotiations. …Eh, that can be difficult, Wolf allowed, considering the senator’s unpredictable schedule. But she would certainly try, she promised.
Well, that’s progress, right? With that sort of civil, earnest communication as a possibility, can we not hope that the two sides will reason together and reach a sensible compromise before we blow the entire economy out of the water? Surely, if Senator Blunt knew what we’re thinking, he would be moved to meet us halfway.
After all, that crowd on the sidewalk outside, the ones who figure that Roy Blunt couldn’t be depended on to agree which day of the week it is, what do they know?