Well, turns out Rev. Robert Potter, the man at the podium who was heckled by single payer demonstrators [gasp!] at the statehouse during the inauguration ceremony, sees the much-talked-about episode as more awkward than insulting or upsetting. Protesters interrupted the event with chants during the ceremony, and some refused to leave at the close.
It was something to be dealt with in a way other than simply anger or threats,” Potter said.
It’s nice to have the kerfuffle taken down a notch or two or three, back into a rational perspective.
The Reverend’s perspective is welcome after amazingly Senator McCormack, a single payer advocate himself, called the protestors “fascists.” And McCormack was later joined on the fainting couch by political analyst Jon Margolis.
Writing in VtDigger.com, Margolis on the one hand rejected the direct fascist reference, but on the other embraced it saying that in terms of method McCormack was not entirely wrong. And the demonstrators weren’t thugs but,
[…] there was an element of at least potential thuggery in their actions, especially later in the day when some of them occupied the otherwise empty House chamber, threatening to stay unless Speaker Shap Smith promised to hold hearings on a single payer bill. [added emphasis]
Rev. Potter says he doesn’t fundamentally disagree with demonstrators' goals but doesn’t think it helped the case. “Humor was the great gift of the moment,” said Potter, who reassured those in attendance at the inauguration, “Don’t worry about them (the protestors), I have the mic!”
Potter later reflected, “Laughter is the carbonation of holiness,” acknowledging that the incident was unique in his 55 years in the ministry. “If we hadn’t been able to lighten up the atmosphere, I think it would have left the inauguration in a very different tone,” Potter said. “It was an attempt to soften the moment.” [added emphasis]
Maybe after some smelling salts, fresh air, and a good lie-down, Sen. Dick McCormack and political analyst Jon Margolis could consider the Rev.Potter’s cure.