We’re not paid! — Protesters bring their message to NJ congressman’s radio show
It was quite a scene on the streets of Toms River on Thursday evening, as upwards of 100 citizens came together to get U.S. Rep Tom MacArthur's attention.
MacArthur, who was scheduled for an appearance on his regular "Ask The Congressman" program on WOBM, has been in the cross hairs recently along with many of his fellow members of congress after critics accused them of dodging town halls.
On Wednesday, the Republican congressman from the state's 3rd Congressional District had been invited to participate in a Citizens Town Hall in Marlton, but instead hosted a tele-hall aimed at giving constituents an opportunity to speak about the issues. Not satisfied with that medium, the anger of his constituents boiled over into the form of a protest on Thursday. The demonstration was organized by Indivisible, a group that has had its own controversy with accusations of paying for protesters.
The people on the streets of Toms River wanted to make one thing very clear: they were not being paid. With custom signs displaying personal information such as their ZIP codes, they wanted all to know that they were local, and their movement was organic.
Chants of "Impeach Trump," "Not my president" and "Where's Tom?" echoed throughout the evening, indicating that the group's biggest concerns begin at the highest level.
The night was peaceful, with Toms River police keeping the streets clear and everyone out of harm's way. The clash of opinions within the crowd was minimal, although there were several back-and-forth chants and loud exchanges between the pro- and anti-Trump perspectives.
While the majority of the crowd missed MacArthur's arrival thanks to a strategic entry, they were treated to the entire "Ask The Congressman" program because WOBM (a sister station of New Jersey 101.5) played the show through speakers placed on the building's roof.
Some of the demonstrators called into the show and spoke with MacArthur. Covering issues ranging from healthcare to the heroin epidemic, the program contained many "agree to disagree" moments.
If this night proved anything, it's that the American spirit is alive and well in Ocean County, and despite differing ideologies, that's something we should all be proud of.
Tom Mongelli contributed to this article.
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