The man could have taken much more extreme actions, given the sheer volume and utter offensiveness of the voluminous number of racist and bigoted comments that Congressman Steve King (R-IA) has made publicly.
When Blake Gibbins of Lafayette, Colorado walked up to the white-nationalist apologist representative yesterday at the Mineral City Mill and Grill in Fort Dodge, Iowa, however, he was relatively restrained in expressing his displeasure with Congressman King and the deplorable ideology he subscribes to.
Gibbins, 26, was lucky that he limited his actions to merely throwing a glass of water in Representative King’s face as he sat eating lunch in the local bistro since even that expression of political opposition earned him an arrest on misdemeanor charges of simple assault and disorderly conduct.
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The Colorado resident — who was in Iowa visiting family and did not know before entering the establishment that Rep. King would be there, according to local police — was possibly inspired by the latest in a long string of offensive remarks made by the congressman, who was stripped of all his committee assignments in an act of congressional censure after he asked when “white supremacist” had become an offensive term.
Representative King was condemned yet again early this week when he suggested that less racially homogenous residents of Louisiana were more demanding of federal assistance in the wake of Hurricane Katrina than the predominantly Caucasian Iowans have been during the recent flooding along the Missouri River. Only about 3.3% of Iowa’s residents are of African American descent, compared to more than 30% in Louisiana’s demographics.
Particularly since there has been no shortage of more recent hurricane damage in other areas of the country since the Katrina disaster, critics saw King’s comments as another one of his frequent racist dog whistles.
“Here’s what FEMA tells me. We go to a place like New Orleans, and everybody’s looking around saying, ‘Who’s going to help me? Who’s going to help me?'” King said during a townhall meeting in Iowa on Thursday, according to CNN.
“We go to a place like Iowa, and we go, we go see, knock on the door at, say, I’ll make up a name, John’s place, and say, ‘John, you got water in your basement, we can write you a check, we can help you.’ And John will say, ‘Well, wait a minute, let me get my boots. It’s Joe that needs help. Let’s go down to his place and help him,’ he added.
Besides earning King a wet face at his lunch yesterday, his comments drew condemnation from even some of the most conservative of his Republican colleagues in Congress.
“His comments about Katrina victims are absurd and offensive,” House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) told Baton Rogue newspaper The Advocate, describing them as “a complete contradiction to the strength and resilience the people of New Orleans demonstrated to the entire nation in the wake of the total devastation they experienced.”
While progressive activists have often confronted Trump administration officials and other Republican leaders in public places as they attempted to have undisturbed dinners out, most have restricted their actions to the shouting of slogans and generally shaming the politicians until they feel so uncomfortable that they leave without completing their meals.
Gibbens’ actions in Iowa represent an escalation in anti-right-wing protests resulting from a deepening of public disgust with the prophets of racial polarization in our country and threatens a further national division over the acceptable methods of legitimate protest in the face of elected officials promoting bigoted views worthy of fascist regimes.
The angry Colorado man’s behavior may have been extreme, if ultimately harmless to anything except what little dignity that Rep. King maintains, but could have been avoided if the Congressman had restricted his remarks to views socially acceptable to the vast majority of Americans who subscribe to the Declaration of Independence’s assumption that “all men are created equal.”
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