Group targets Speaker Boehner’s (small-h) house 

When did demonstrating at the private homes of politicians or corporate executives become an acceptable way to voice one’s political opinions?

Nearly two dozen activists from DC Vote swarmed House Speaker John Boehner’s Capitol Hill residence at 7:30 Thursday morning, chanting “Don’t tread of D.C.” and “No taxation without representation” to protest congressional “meddling” in the District’s local affairs, in particular a House continuing budget resolution that would cut $80 million in federal payments and prohibit the city from using local funds to pay for needle exchange programs and abortions.

“Speaker Boehner is coming to our home telling us how to spend our money,” Ilir Zherka, the group’s executive director, told his followers. “We decided to come to his house to tell him to leave D.C. alone.”

After Capitol Police officers blocked their way by using bikes to erect a makeshift barricade, the protestors remained outside Boehner’s home for more than an hour.

This is the same tactic used last month by protestors who don’t want Wal-Mart to open a new store in D.C. As DCist reported:

…Instead of demonstrating at one of the possible Walmart locations or making their opinions known to members of the D.C. Council, the protesters descended on the Woodley Park home of Dick Knapp, an executive at Foulger-Pratt, the company that is set to develop the Georgia Avenue Walmart.

Petworth resident Robby Diesu, who organized the Woodley Park protest, was quoted as saying:

"He's coming to our house. He's coming to my neighborhood. He's going to decimate my neighborhood. Why can't I come and stand outside his house for 30 minutes and ask him not to destroy my neighborhood?"

Why? Because such protests terrify people who have nothing to do with the issue, such as children and neighbors. And because assembling a mob in front of a person’s private residence is an inherently threatening action. It’s also unnecessary, as there are many public areas in D.C. where such demonstrations are allowed.

And it’s not just Republicans and Big Business executives who are being targeted for unwelcome house calls.

Last May, 500 screaming, placard-waving members of the Service Employees International Union descended on the home of Greg Baer, deputy general counsel for corporate law at Bank of America, and stood on his front porch to protest foreclosures, terrifying Baer’s 14-year-old son, who was home alone at the time. As Baer’s next-door neighbor, Fortune Magazine’s Nina Easton, pointed out, Baer is a lifelong Democrat who had worked for the Clinton Treasury Department. His wife, Shirley Sagawa, is a former adviser to Hillary Clinton.

Somebody better tell these yahoos that private homes are off-limits, and to stop making it personal.

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