On March 16, 2017, my family and I attended a small rally in front of Representative Pete Sessions’s office in Dallas, TX to protest H.R.1628 – American Health Care Act of 2017. The bill has since died because not enough Republicans supported it. Representative Sessions supported the bill, and it was our goal to convince him that his Dallas constituents didn’t support Trumpcare and to not vote for the bill.
It shouldn’t have come to any surprise that our presence was not welcome. Our numbers were few; only about ten people showed up. Pete Sessions sent goons to scare us away. I was not allowed to park my car on the premise. I snuck to the back to find that there was a designated visitor lot, and that it was nearly empty. I parked and joined the rally. The goon came up to me, pointing at me and said that I had to move my car or they would tow it away.
Pete Sessions operates his duties out of a commercial building. Had I been there to feed ducks at the pond in the back no one would have taken notice. He could barely legally justify kicking me out of the lot. I asked the man where I should park. “You can’t park here. You can park anywhere but in this lot.” The office is surrounded by condos and apartments with very strict towing regulations. I explained to him that there was nowhere else to park. Had I parked legally, I would have had to walk for miles with young children to reach the protest. “That’s your problem, not mine,” was his response. “Like I said, you can’t park here.”
|We Love ACA|
I drove to the other side of the building where I found a second visitor lot completely empty with a security guard in a golf cart guarding the entrance. I find it alarming that Pete Sessions found our band of ten protesters so intimidating that he felt justified obstructing our first amendment rights of assembly to protect himself. I suppose this protection would make more sense had our throng been numbered in the thousands, or even hundreds. It was clear to me that we had been mistreated. I am grateful to the dental clinic down the road that recognizes how assembly works, and allowed me to park in their lot. I would encourage members of Congress to position their offices in locations that are accessible to their constituents.
|Empty Visitor Lot – A security guard protected this lot from our band of protesters.|