A passionate protest
● By Steven Hoffman
They carried signs that read, “We Want Justice For All,” and “What Will You Tell Your Daughters” and “Republicans, You’re Fired” and “He Lied Under Oath.”
A large crowd gathered at the intersection of Route 82 and Street Road in East Marlborough Township on Oct. 3 to show their strong opposition to federal judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court in the midst of the most divisive Supreme Court confirmation battle in decades.
“We’re here to let the public know that it’s OK to speak out when you see something with government that’s wrong,” explained Wayne Braffman, the chairman of the Kennett Area Democrats.
And speak out many people did. At shortly before 5 o’clock last Wednesday, there were about 70 people holding signs and waving to motorists as they moved through the busy intersection. At one point, the crowd took up a chant of “Make America Nice Again!”
According to Braffman, the turnout was much larger than usual for a demonstration at this intersection, which is an illustration of how deeply people care about what transpired during the Supreme Court confirmation process. Many motorists moving through the intersection responded to the demonstration participants by showing their support for the cause. Braffman said that the passing motorists were responding to the demonstration much more frequently than is typical.
There was clearly a lot of passion on display at the demonstration.
“We are here to challenge the idea that men, particularly men in power, can prey on women and get away with it,” said Anton Andrew, a candidate for the 160th District of the Pennsylvania State House. “On a personal level, I am here to do what I can to help create the America I want my 10-year-old daughter to grow up in.”
Victoria Wiedwald said that she’s been taking part in these kinds of demonstrations for much of her life. She said that she was distraught over what transpired during the ugly confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in 1991, and now the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings are just as ugly.
Wiedwald is the vice chair of the Kennett Area Democrats, and she said that political activism is on the rise in response to the Trump Administration. She said that there has been a large increase in the number of volunteers who want to work on behalf of Democratic candidates locally.
Like Wiedwald, they are concerned about the government and the country’s elected leaders.
“I think the country is being steered in the wrong direction,” Wiedwald said.
Gerard Prilutski said that he has only taken part in a few demonstrations of this kind, but he felt compelled to do so now because of concerns about Kavanaugh. Prilutski said that while it’s difficult to draw a conclusion about whether the Supreme Court nominee was guilty of sexual assault based on what has been revealed publicly, he is certain that Kavanaugh lied while testifying under oath to Congress—and a judge should not do that.
“Kavanaugh is a liar,” he said, “and I have a problem with that. He has demonstrated himself to be a liar.”
Pamela Reischauer, a resident of Newlin Township, was holding a sign that said that women should be elected to office—not mocked. She said that if more women were holding elected office, it would change the culture so that women would no longer be disrespected so often.
Of course, not everyone shared the opinions of the demonstration participants.
There was a small group of people who took part in a counter-demonstration. At shortly before five o’clock, four men carried signs touting President Trump and his policies. They took up a spot just across the road from the demonstration.
“I’m a big Trump supporter,” said Richard Brooks, a resident of Kennett Square. He explained that he wanted to help plan a counter-demonstration to show that there are differences of opinion on the Trump administration.
“I support Trump and Kavanaugh. We wanted to express our opinions, too,” Brooks said.
The Kennett Area Democrats group took the lead in organizing the demonstration, with some assistance from the Ox-Grove Democrats.
While Wiedwald and others are concerned about the direction the country is heading in, the increased political activism is at least one positive sign to come out of the current political landscape.
“I still believe we can make change,” Wiedwald said. “That’s why this country is so great.”
(Editor’s Note: Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court by a vote of 50 to 48 on Saturday.)