Activists take dissent in dangerous direction

By Congressman Chris Smith

Congressman Chris Smith

Who can argue that in 2017, we face an unprecedented number of seemingly insurmountable problems both domestic and international that require wise leadership and sustained problem solving by Congress, the president — and everyone of good will.

Perhaps as in no previous time, however, we live in the age of the perpetual campaign where truth and the common good too often take a back seat to political expediency and personal gain. Enabled by distortion, hyperbole, surface appeal argument and the 24-hour, seven days a week cable news cycle, the public is increasingly ill-served and resolving tough issues has become more elusive.

While disagreements are inevitable, when we disagree and have fundamental differences, I believe that it is our duty to advance our point of view with utmost civility and respect — and always take the high road, which has become for some so-called activists the road less traveled.

In recent months, activists in my congressional district have taken dissent in an entirely different and dangerous direction — shouting obscenities at my staff, including a 17-year-old high school female intern, making threats that have been reported to the police — and even “praying that I get cancer and die.”

One aggressive male protester yelled obscenities at the women in my district office before slamming the door so hard it shook the walls. He has received a “cease and desist” letter and if he comes back will be arrested.

Consider just a few examples of emails, phone messages and postings on social media:

  • For Mother’s Day, the leader of one anti-Smith organization that frequently turns out picketers at my office, regularly calls me obscene names and phrases, demands town meetings and distorts my record, defamed and mocked the Blessed Mother with a post of a picture of Mary that reads: “Kept Her Legs Closed, Still Got Pregnant.”
  • That same group smeared Nobel Peace prize winner Mother Teresa on their Facebook account calling Mother Teresa a “sadistic religious fanatic” and a “sham.”
  • Another wrote that “My Congressman Reminds Me of my Rapist” and employs obscenities to mock Trump.
  • Six other people — among many examples I could cite — recently wrote:
  • “I pray that you and the orange cheeto (Trump) gets cancer and die. RIP you scumbag.”
  • “You are a disgusting piece of crap…”
  • “You are a living abortion…”
  • “Republicans…are the terrorists this nation has to fear.”
  • “I wish you could know the terror of being raped.”
  • “We’re coming after you a…h…”

And then there’s the dirty tricks. Fake twitter and Facebook accounts were created in my name, deceiving many. It took a letter from the general counsel of the House of Representatives to compel at least some “modifications” in their deceptive practices.

Dissent and criticism comes with the job. In Congress, I debate the issues and thrive on the give and take, and I respect those on the other side of an issue or on the other side of the political aisle. The attacks directed towards me — and others — are designed to degrade, demonize and distort. Ultimately, it will backfire: Americans cherish dialogue and respect.

I will continue to work tirelessly for the people. In Congress, for example, I rank second among all 435 members of the House of Representatives in the number of laws authored. I have written landmark bipartisan laws to combat human trafficking, fight terrorism, assist the homeless, boost veterans’ health care and education benefits, provide billions for autism research and services, help return abducted children, turn bone marrow and cord blood stem cells into lifesaving miracles, and much more.

I serve as co-chair of 12 caucuses — or congressional working groups — including Alzheimer’s disease, autism, Lyme Disease, heart and stroke, pro-life, combatting anti-Semitism and human trafficking.

At home, I and my amazing staff leave no stone unturned in trying to solve local problems — from individual constituent needs to assisting local organizations to local governments, strengthening and expanding missions at the Joint Base and more.

Far too often activists present themselves to the media as mere benign opponents who just want to talk. Their hate-filled posts on social media and elsewhere suggest otherwise.

Posted: May 23rd, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Smith, Monmouth County News, New Jersey, Opinion | Tags: , , , , , | 7 Comments »

7 Comments on “Activists take dissent in dangerous direction”

  1. Bob English said at 7:06 am on May 24th, 2017:

    Congressman…How long are you going to use the bad behavior of a few people as an excuse not to hold a town Hall Meeting??? As of now you have not held one in an incredible 25+ years and people who have opinions on issues that differ from yours never seem to be able to get a meeting with you at one of your offices.

    I might add that I attended the TWM at the Monmouth County Library a couple of months ago to which you were invited and did not attend. That was the least threatening crowd (roughly 600) you will ever see and people made their comments and asked questions in a respectful way.

    You really do yourself and your district a disservice by not attending those or arranging your own THM so you can meet face to face with your constituents.

    Bob English-Eatontown

  2. still no national right to carry said at 7:37 am on May 24th, 2017:

    not seeing a whole lot of those big ticket items being done Chris.

    Freehold, like 1/4 of NJ, is still full of illegals
    NJ still will not issue carry permits nor does the federal government push national right to carry
    my health insuarnace premium,and copays and deductables, are up almost 150% over the past 10 years
    The liberal education industry has devalued all previous degrees by tricking states and congress into making college into tax payer funded highschool+5, yes 5 because everyone gets a master, what good is. a Bachelors and associates, then employers point to Americans sitting on ONLY a BA or BS and hire H1B Indians with fake foreign masters degrees instead.

    I think that Bob English is an liberal lunatic who seeks to destroy the United States and overthrow the government to replace it with communists like himself, but he is right about one thing, you individually, along with your coworkers, are really, really bad at your jobs and have to do better. Go ahead and get one, just one, thing done, I double dog dare you…. national right to carry is an easy one, its almost a give me even, Republican majority in Congress, Republican majority Govs, Republican pres, and a majority of the population supporting and calling for it, do it!

    Otherwise the ONLY thing Republicans have on their side is that with Democrats in charge, things would be even worse!

  3. McGuire Stanford III said at 10:45 am on May 24th, 2017:


    I share your concern about the degradation that has infected public discourse. But can you explain why you put your faith above your pledge to represent your constituents? If you were a Muslim, and sought to impose sharia on your constituents, why would that be any different from your refusal to recognize science and instead seek to impose Catholic dogma about personhood on all of the United States?

  4. TheDigger said at 1:24 pm on May 24th, 2017:

    @McGuire Stanford

    Perhaps, since you seem to be anti-Catholic in your above statement, you do not know the meaning of the word “fetus”. It is a Latin word which means “Little One”.

    Isn’t it a shame that Owls, Dolphins and Minnows seem to have more rights than a “Little One”?

    If you do not want the responsibility of a child, please do not get pregnant. Either take precautions or do not engage in activity which may result in pregnancy.

    All human life matters, no matter the color, ethnicity or age.

    Do not force taxpayers to fund abortions or abortion providers.

    Congressmen who vote for a budget (or continuing resolution) which funds Planned Parenthood should not call themselves Pro-Life. Congressmen who campaign on repealing the disaster known as Obamacare (the un-Affordable care Act) and yet vote against repealing and replacing that act should understand those who voted for them are not happy with them. We will remember in November 2018 what they do now.

  5. Bob English said at 1:58 pm on May 24th, 2017:

    @still no national right to carry

    I was not aware that requesting that our elected Congressional Representative Congressman Smith hold his first Town Hall Meeting in 25 years and to meet with those who disagree with him is a “liberal lunatic” idea. I would suggest that is not a D or R, Liberal or Conservative idea.

    In the words of Gabby Giffords, time to “show some courage”.

  6. McGuire Stanford said at 3:39 pm on May 26th, 2017:

    @The Digger

    I happen to be a Catholic who believes that in the discharge of the law, the Nation must rely on the definition of life determined by the Federal Government rather than my Church, because I also believe in the rule of law AND in the fundamental principles of liberty embodied by our secular founders in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. In my personal life choices, I do what my morality and respect for Catholic dogma dictates.

  7. Jeff said at 9:08 pm on May 26th, 2017:

    Congressman smith it seems has no friends on the right or the left. It is well deserved. He opposed the repeal of Obamacare, did NOTHING to support or defend President Trump and has been basically a rubber stamp for the RINO traitor Paul Ryan. I won’t be voting for Smith. He’s a useless establishment tool.