A Chelsea Clinton in training.
U.S. Rep. Mark DeSaulnier’s town hall was winding down, and as usual his audience had gotten its money’s worth.
And not just because it was free.
DeSaulnier, D-Concord, treated the audience during a recent event at Stanley Middle School in Lafayette to the full dinner show: a fast-paced PowerPoint presentation; a civics lesson (want to know why the Congressional districts are numbered the way they are?); a dose of history (do you know which president was the first to issue his inaugural address from the West Terrace of the Capitol)?
Many familiar topics were touched upon, both in DeSaulnier’s talk and the Q&A that followed. Yes, more than a few dealt with the Trump in the room. Then came the final question card of the night, from a young girl, and it was a show-stopper.
“Eden wanted to have her question asked by staff because it’s past her bedtime,” explained a member of DeSaulnier’s staff, who then read the question:
“My name is Eden, and I’m 11 years old. My mom is worried about my future with President Trump. On election night, my mom cried. Kids at my school are worrying about being deported. I’ve read and heard awful things about him. Should I be worried about my future? As a kid, what can I do about it?”
“From the mouths of babes,” DeSaulnier said, apparently affected by the question. And who wouldn’t be? The toxic national discourse is dispiriting enough for adults. To hear that it is trickling down to affect 11-year-olds?
“It’s interesting,” he would say a few days later. “The night before in Richmond, something similar happened. Both instances were a little out of body for me. I sort of responded to the way people were responding to me.”
Back to Eden’s question: “I think you should be concerned,” DeSaulnier said. “This is dangerous stuff. I’ve said a few times, the most dangerous person in America isn’t a terrorist, it’s the person who’s president of the United States. So Eden, you’ve got to read, you have to be thoughtful, and you have to be engaged.”
It was as if DeSaulnier knew exactly whom he was talking to. Eden, bright-eyed and engaging, has accompanied her mother, Alissa Levy, to the polls every election day since she can remember. “Since I was a baby,” she said a week after DeSaulnier’s town hall. “I’ve done everything in politics with my mom.”