Democracy Dies in Darkness

Letters to the Editor | Opinion

Interrupting is not protest

September 10, 2018 at 6:06 PM

Protesters disrupt testimony by Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh on Capitol Hill on Sept. 6. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

Dana Milbank praised as “protests” the shenanigans that occurred during Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh’s Senate confirmation hearings for the Supreme Court [“The sweet sound of protest,” Thursday Opinion, Sept. 6]. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The hecklers were disrupting the proceedings in the Senate by shouting over those who were already speaking. They were forcibly ejected for doing so. 

None of the other examples Mr. Milbank cited — the civil rights movement, antiwar protests, Henry David Thoreau fighting slavery, the Boston Tea Party — involved speakers being disrupted. 

Doing so grants a heckler’s veto to the disrupters and effectively silences those who are speaking. The basic rules of civility demand more.

Darryl W. Jackson, Bethesda

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