Yesterday afternoon a group of people gathered outside Congressman Dave Reichert's Issaquah office to protest the proposed Republican budget. But instead of just lining up and telling Reichert's office park how they really think and feel, the protesters—who were organized by Washington CAN, Main Street Alliance of Washington, and the Puget Sound Advocates for Retirement Action—dressed up as funeral home lobbyists and offered their support for the congressman. The conceit here is that Reichert will presumably back the GOP's current 2018 budget proposal, which will be good for the "death industry," which they purport to represent.
"Thank you all for joining us today! My name is Mr. Mold, and I am the head-lobbyist for the Washington State Organization of Grave-Laborers, Undertakers and Morticians, or WA SO GLUM," the man pictured above reportedly said in a staged moment of protest. "I know [Reichert] will see the dire state of the funeral industry, and that he will support this Republican budget! That’s why I’m here today to give my endorsement!"
The Republican budget proposal will be disastrous for Americans and must be protested with the same fire and fury that fueled the protests against the GOP's many failed efforts to repeal Obamacare, if for no other reason than the budget in its current form is also a full-on assault of the healthcare system. It will cut $500 billion from Medicare and $1.5 trillion from Medicaid, as well as two trillion more dollars from other forms of mandatory spending. Though some Republican lawmakers say the bill is DOA, those very same people tend to lie all the time.
But as for yesterday's bit of self-described bit of political theater, I just have a few notes.
I'm grateful for these organizers and these protesters, who really are taking some initiative by standing in a parking lot and trying to call attention to an issue that doesn't often get people marching in the streets. Putting on a weird play in the middle of the afternoon certainly demonstrates more gumption than I mustered for the resistance yesterday.
But I'm sorry, the premise here is convoluted and the speech is just corny. The death industry? And, "my name is Mr. Mold, and I'm with WA SO GLUM?" I guess I admire the impulse to try something a little different, but are you all seeing the kinda shit the fucking Republicans are putting out there? I mean:
I know Reichert's easily spooked. The man's too scared to do his job and meet with constituents in a public forum. But if you're really trying to shake the former sheriff to his core, you at LEAST need to be matching the level of intensity of a third-rate conservative blogger like Dana Loesch.
People really will die if the President signs this budget. And the fact that Republicans are willing to trade the lives of those people for tax cuts is profound rejection of basic human decency. Approaching that reality with a cartoonish display like this one just feels a little...off.
Don't get me wrong, I like the death angle! I loved, for instance, the die-ins other protesters organized outside Reichert's office earlier this summer. But if you're going to keep going with the goofy goth stuff, at least save it for late October.
But I get it. This is a quick protest, not a month-long run at a repertory theater. Still, if you're going to do some kind of performance, you need to be more straightforward or else way, way weirder. If you're going to stick with the death theme, for instance, you must at least have one person dressed up like the grim reaper. Better yet, make all the protesters dress up like the grim reaper. Put green eyeshades on all of them. Give the tallest one a sign that says "THE GOP BUDGET," walk up and down the sidewalk a few times, and then go get some lunch. People would retweet the fuck out of that video.
By no means do I seek to discourage people from protesting. Rather, I offer these gentle and yet goading criticisms in the spirit of improving the potential impact of future demonstrations. Fortunately, there will probably be plenty of opportunities to rehearse this session.