National news has a way of finding us here in Loudoun County. Unfortunately, that's usually a bad thing.
New state Del. Ibraheem Samirah's outburst in Jamestown this week was no exception.
On Tuesday, Samirah, a Democrat who represents portions of eastern Loudoun and western Fairfax counties, protested President Donald Trump's speech at the 400th anniversary event of the new world's first legislative body – the Virginia House of Burgesses. Shortly into the president's speech, Samirah stood up and pilloried the president while holding up laminated signs that read “Deport Hate,” ”Reunite My Family” and “Go Back to Your Corrupted Home.”
Mr. Samirah's protest was little more than a plea for attention, a contention bolstered by the fact his press team had a (sloppy) press release ready to send out the moment the delegate was escorted from the ceremony. (The release listed the wrong House of Delegates district.)
As the adage goes, “There's a time and a place.” An event memorializing our nation's experiment in self-government, with dignitaries of all political stripes in the crowd, was not the place for Samirah's amateur exploit.
In an era where new social media outlets are sprouting up each year, when anyone can start a blog and the nation's citizens remain free to speak out on whatever issue they please, there's no shortage of avenues for Samirah – or anyone, for that matter – to take President Trump to task on any number of his shortcomings (the president's recent vile comments about the great city of Baltimore among them).
But the Democratic delegate's disruption of the nation's commander in chief during a celebration of democracy revealed poor judgment and conduct unbecoming of a public official.
We concede The Virginia Way – the notion that our commonwealth's elected officials will exude integrity and hold themselves to a higher standard – has gone astray in recent years, but we're not ready to give up on the idea of civility and respect in our politics just yet. We'll persist in pushing for more, pushing for better from our politicians.
Freedom of expression is indeed central to our democracy, and with that comes the right to peacefully protest. We don't argue the fact Samirah was well within his rights to interrupt the president, but just because you can do something doesn't mean you should.
If Mr. Samirah is intent on ridding the White House of President Trump, his time would be better spent campaigning for Democrats in places like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Ohio -- not with a gauche stunt to get his name in the news.