On Thursday, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, the Texas Democrat once dubbed the “Congressional boss from Hell,” found herself the target of criticism from Twitter users upset over her support of actions taken by Black Lives Matter activists. Lee and Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., told The Hill they have no problem with activists disrupting political events, even those held by allies like Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont socialist whose Seattle rally was taken over by a small group of BLM protesters.
“They really are speaking to the issues, and we’re really long overdue responding to those issues,” Jackson Lee told The Hill in a phone interview. “They’ve been pointed, nonviolent and strong, and I’m not offended.”
Lee continued, telling the Hill that protesters are “asking for nothing more than to lift up a system to treat them with justice.” But that didn’t too well with a number of people on Twitter, including one person who called her “insanely stupid.”
“I’m just here for the popcorn,” another person said. “And the spectacle of the Left devouring itself.” Activists with the movement have so far attacked four presidential events, with the latest incident taking place at a town hall event for former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. The former governor met with activists privately before the meeting and pandered to them somewhat during the event, but that did not stop protesters from disrupting the meeting.
“Wonder how Sheila Jackson Lee would feel if a Dylann Roof-type seized her mic in the middle of [a] campaign speech,” another Twitter user said. As we reported Sunday, Black Lives Matter activists took the mic from Sanders as they stormed the stage.
Not everyone on the left is fond of the tactics used by the protesters, however. An article at the ultra far-left wing Politics USA said that “storming the stage is a dangerous and bad idea” when safety is taken into consideration.
“The Black Lives Matter activists could successfully disrupt campaign events without putting the safety of the candidate in jeopardy,” Jason Easley wrote. “The disruptions have gotten the candidates talking about the issue, but Black Lives Matter is running the risk of being consumed by the sort of chaos that killed Occupy Wall Street. At some point, for the movement to mature, it will have to take on a more organized structure.”
Easley continued by advising Sanders to meet privately with activists. But that tactic is unlikely to work, as Bush learned Wednesday night.