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What's next for Pam Bondi? Damned if we know.

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Joe Henderson: It’s getting harder to identify the good guys

Attorney General Pam Bondi was harassed by protestors last Friday when she was at a movie theater in Tampa for a screening of the Mr. Rogers’ movie “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”

Video of the incident went viral. Interestingly, it was captured by a member of Organize Florida who happened to be on the scene.

That group describes itself as “a community-based, nonprofit member organization of low and moderate-income people dedicated to the principles of social, racial, and economic justice and the promotion of an equal and fair Florida for all.”

Very good.

We need more of that.

What we don’t need are the guerilla tactics the video showed against Bondi.

They were inappropriate and juvenile.

Wait a minute, Pam.

Don’t think I’m defending your decision to have Florida join a lawsuit that could end protections for people with pre-existing medical conditions.

That’s what triggered the protest, and Bondi should be ashamed to be a party to that. It is cold, heartless, cruel and an unworthy partisan example of how she puts her Republican Party ideals over what is best for all the people.

And I did have to suppress a laugh when I saw her quote in the Tampa Bay Times about the incident.

“We were in a movie about anti-bullying and practicing peace and love and tolerance and accepting of people for their differences,” Bondi told The Times. “That’s what Mister Rogers is all about. We all believe in free speech, but there’s a big difference there.”

A good way to put anti-bullying, peace, love and tolerance into practice might be to stop trying to destroy people’s insurance lifeline without replacing it with something that can provide the coverage they need and can afford.

It’s despicable.

Can you say that, Pam? Sure, you can.

Actually, I doubt she could.

This kind of stuff has been building since Donald Trump started his campaign for president. Progressives and Democrats, in general, despise him and the members of his administration — and, by extension, people like Bondi.

They believe Republican policies are designed to make the rich become richer and to screw the little guy. Often, they aren’t wrong.

They believe Trump is a feckless bully whose fallback position is to lie about pretty much everything. Some of the people who support him believe they have a license to intimidate, mock, berate and stomp on people who have different ideas.

Democrats are fed up. The anti-Trumpies have had enough.

But there is no excuse — none, zero — for some of the things we’ve seen lately.

Take Democratic U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters of California, for instance. She is acting just like the person she despises.

Saturday in Los Angeles, she said in a speech, “If you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.”

That’s ignorant on so many levels that it’s hard to know where to start.

It’s basically what Trump called for his supporters to do during the campaign. It’s how he excused racists in Charlottesville for inciting violence. It’s his fallback position whenever he feels the heat.

His opponents aren’t as good at that game as Trump has been, and right now they are too filled with fury to grasp that their best weapon isn’t a rock or screaming insults, it’s a ballot on Election Day.

But even that won’t work if the anti-Trump crowd keeps up this garbage. They shouldn’t try to justify this junk with a “yeah, but …” because they would be wrong.

Non-aligned voters already say they can’t tell the difference between the two parties, and these actions reinforce that belief. And they tend to believe that while conservatives can be hardhearted, liberals can be clueless.

Democrats need to ask themselves a serious question. Florida has elected a Republican Governor in five consecutive elections. The vast majority of top officials in Tallahassee are Republicans.

Yes, gerrymandering can explain the GOP lockjaw on the Legislature, but that doesn’t explain why Dems keep losing statewide races.

It’s just possible that Republicans have done a better job of articulating a vision enough Floridians agree with.

Hard to swallow, eh?

If they want to change that narrative, it’s time for leaders of the so-called “resistance” to show they can be something besides mad.

Recent events aren’t promising.

Written By

I have a 45-year career in newspapers, including nearly 42 years at The Tampa Tribune. Florida is wacky, wonderful, unpredictable and a national force. It's a treat to have a front-row seat for it all.

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