Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was confronted inside a Kentucky restaurant on Oct. 19 by a band of upset protesters. They shouted at McConnell to “leave the country,” as their protests were driven by concerns about cutting entitlement programs such as Social Security. Needless to say, McConnell’s night was cut short by this turbulence, and his leftovers were tossed to the pavement outside.
Already, this encounter has been condemned by moderates from both parties, who universally insist upon one key aspect of political decorum: “civility,” a word that ignites nostalgia to a simpler era of politics. This ideological framework insists that politics must be conducted reasonably, courteously, and with the acknowledgement that we share more commonalities than differences. What civility loosely implies in this context, however, is that our elected officials should never be subjected to criticism outside of organized town hall meetings and that they should be totally shielded from the popular backlash of enormously consequential decisions.
Let’s ignore for a second the fact that McConnell doesn’t even conduct “town halls” with constituents, for he is unwilling to shell out for the exorbitantly-priced tickets to attend (presumably because he remains beholden more to wealthy business interests than the individuals he represents). It is ridiculous to suggest that any political leader, not just McConnell, should be treated with excessive admiration, simply for being elected to a position of power. No congressmen are embodied with the divine right of kings, nor are they forced into servitude. These officials are employed by the American public and are handsomely compensated for it. Furthermore, a representative is a delegate for the wishes of his or her constituents, and if this representative runs contrary to the wishes of these electors, they should have no expectation of respect or esteem from the people they’ve ignored.
Yet, all this hypothetical posturing distracts from perhaps the most essential point, focusing in on our protagonist; there is absolutely no point in being civil towards a person as achingly abhorrent as McConnell. He has strong-armed a man alleged to have committed sexual assault onto the Supreme Court without an adequate FBI investigation, backed legislation which separates toddlers from their parents and imprisons migrants for indeterminate amounts of time, and has hinted at plans to cut “entitlement programs” to fund two trillion dollars in tax cuts based on a trickle-down economic ideology debunked both in theory and practice. He will not face punishment for what I consider to be his abysmal, rotten actions in the Senate chamber and will leave our country in a significantly darker place than when he entered civil service in 1975. The notion that he doesn’t deserve 10 minutes of discomfort in exchange for a career rallied against the poorest and most vulnerable of our country is laughable at best and genuinely worrying at worst.