A quick story…
Today Trump supporters crashed our event.
We held an outdoor campaign event at Aquia Harbor in Stafford, VA, and had a decent crowd of about 30 people. With a large RASHID FOR CONGRESS sign behind me, it wasn’t long before Trump supporters began driving by, honking, and waving their flags.
Soon a few Trump supporters showed up on foot, waving their flags. Perhaps it was an attempt to interrupt or intimidate, or, just to exercise their free speech. After all we respect the First Amendment. In any case, I had a decision to make. Do I ignore them or do I tell them to leave?
I decided neither. Instead, I called them over.
I had the mic and called out, “Hey y’all, you don’t have to stand over there waving that flag. You can come join us. Our events are open to all. We’re expanding our tent, not closing it down.”
To their credit, they came and joined our group and listened in.
“What’s your name?” I asked one of the gentlemen. “Chad,” he responded.
The Q/A continued with our supporters. Eventually, Chad asked about the Supreme Court and the claim that Democrats want to “Pack the Court.”
I responded, “Sure, let’s talk about packing the court. Let’s talk about how Republicans have won the popular vote only 1 of last 7 Presidential elections but have nominated 14 of last 19 SCOTUS picks. Let’s talk about how Mitch McConnell denied President Obama’s appointments of 110 Federal judges, and a SCOTUS appointment. Those 110 appointments were then appointed by President Trump with conservative judges, and the SCOTUS pick denied to Obama was given to Trump. And now, going back on their own rule to not appoint SCOTUS justices in an election year, the GOP wants to appoint a justice in an election year. You can’t accuse Democrats of a hypothetical event that never happened while ignoring the actual court packing done by Republicans.”
Chad the Trump supporter was silent and finally responded, “Yeah I agree that’s hypocritical.”
I give Chad credit for being honest and calling out the GOP hypocrisy and responded to Chad, “Thank you. Here’s the truth. I’m running as a Democrat because I believe the Democratic platform is more aligned with justice. But if you’re looking for me to say that Democrats can do no wrong, and Republicans can do no right, then you’ve found the wrong guy because I don’t believe that. I’m committed to upholding justice as the supreme standard. You have my word.”
Chad responded, “I can agree with that.”
The tone changed from one of hostility and distrust to one of recognizing that we as Americans truly want the same things—justice and fairness. Soon after Chad left the gathering on his own, but not before sharing with our host that he walked in viewing us as the enemy, and left realizing we actually have a lot in common in wanting to uplift our nation.
But it’s what happened after all this that truly left me in awe.
As the event ended, at least 5 of the attendees walked up to me and shared that they’re life long Republicans who have never voted Democrat before, and have always voted for my GOP opponent. But now, for the first time in their life they’re voting for a Democrat—Qasim Rashid—for US Congress.
They’re drawn to our campaign that refuses to respond to hate with hate. They’ve seen my opponent’s attacks on my faith and see us responding with compassion and justice.
They see that we’re talking about the issues that matter like healthcare, broadband, the environment, small businesses, and stopping COVID19,. They see that I’m committed to ensuring I represent all my constituents, not just those who vote for me. And they see that I truly represent the people and reject CorpPAC money.
We left the event with more volunteers, more support, and a more united community. That’s what we’re fighting for. We need you in this fight with us. In these final 15 days, join us and let’s form that more perfect union—together.