There are a couple letters in yesterday's Pioneer Press regarding the way that John Kline's staff treated anti-War protesters at his Burnsville office:
People opposed to the war in Iraq showed up in two Republican congressional offices last week.
Rep. Jim Ramstad's office served coffee, got chairs for the visitors and made them welcome.
Rep. John Kline's office dismissed them as "Democrats" and called the police.
Perhaps next time Kline wonders why this country is so divided, he should take a look in the mirror.
On Tuesday I attended a nonviolent sit-in at Sen. Norm Coleman's office to encourage the senator to use the power of the purse to end the war in Iraq. Except for a shortage of seating, our reception was respectful.
This was not the case in the office of Rep. John Kline, whose staffer, Mike Osskopp, called the Burnsville police to have about 17 protesters removed from his office. Osskopp accused the protesters of being "Democrats," thus justifying their removal.
Kline should know that he expelled only constituents from his district, that not all of them were Democrats, and that the first step toward fascism is to use the police against peaceful political opponents. Kline should know that his constituents will be back in this ongoing protest.
Kline's constituents have a right to show up at Kline's office and voice their concerns about the war. That's a basic part of representative democracy. If they are interfering with the operation of the office, then it's appropriate to have them removed.
Kline was elected as a Republican, but now serves the people of his district, regardless of political party. Kline should reprimand Osskopp and meet with the protesters.
The second letter writer also deserves a slap on the wrist. When a staffer in a local office for a Representative from the minority party kicks 17 people out of the office, it's not the first step toward fascism. It's a mistake. A dumb mistake, for sure. An authoritarian mistake, perhaps, but Osskopp ain't Ernst Rohm.
Come on. This is much ado about nothing. The people who went to Kline's office knew that they would not change his mind. It was all political theater for them (cheap political games). Just because a person is an elected official does not mean that he/she has to allow people to play him/her for some kind of chump. I don't care for Kline's politics - he's not a real Republican, but it's a stretch to make him out as the bad guy in this situation.
By 5:33 PM, at
You're right on at least 2 points. It was political theater and Kline isn't the bad guy here. In fact, Kline wasn't there. A staffer over-reacted. You shouldn't have the police remove constituents, though.<< Home