Know your enemy

LaMalfa’s town hall should unify progressives

Rep. Doug LaMalfa’s town hall forum in Chico on Monday (Aug. 7) unfolded predictably. Angry constituents challenged him; he dismissed their concerns with glibness, condescension and stump-speech recitations.

It should be obvious, around eight months into the Trump presidency and the 115th Congress, that Republicans like LaMalfa discount dissent. They wave off citizens’ concerns as “Internet talking points,” unflattering media coverage as “fake news.” Public meetings are formalities.

LaMalfa believes the Affordable Care Act merits repeal and Trump merits support. Cajoling him will not change him. Gentle persuasion probably won’t, either. He’s entrenched. So, those who oppose his and the GOP’s agenda need to do more than wave signs and yell. They also need to recognize ally from opponent.

Just ahead of LaMalfa’s whistle stop, a Facebook meme hit the refresh button on infighting that’s fractured so-called progressives. The meme depicts a Venn diagram with Democrats on the left, Republicans on the right, overlapping all they purportedly have in common. The only distinctions, according to this assessment, are stances on abortion, guns and accepting climate change. Otherwise, the parties are clones.

We understand this cynicism. The Democratic Party leans more center-left than left. However, to equate the values of Democrats with those of Republicans is to create a false equivalence.

We’ve given up on one major political party, not both. We harken to Bernie Sanders, who’s opted to change the system from the inside by joining with the Democrats. He sees allies, his vision not obscured by a mask of ideological purity.

Keep the pressure on our congressman. Understand, however, that the most meaningful action in that regard may be, as a town hall button read, “Repeal and replace LaMalfa.” That won’t happen if progressives keep misplacing aggression.