opinion

Last week, this column chronicled a curious confrontation on the Tempe campus of Arizona State University, involving harassment of two white students by Black students affiliated with the Multicultural Solidarity Coalition.

Observers may be forgiven if they now choose to designate ASU as a “confrontation center,” especially upon hearing the news of another display of intrusion and incivility at the downtown campus involving Sen. Kyrsten Sinema.

She was followed into a restroom at University Center by a group of activists affiliated with Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA) Oct. 3. Not content with merely confronting Sinema, LUCHA members recorded the interaction for social media.

The Twittersphere has been chirping since LUCHA posted the “production.”

It opens with Sinema telling her class, “I’ll be back,” then walking out of the room and right into the group of LUCHA agitators. The word “lucha” means “fight” in Spanish, but Sinema appears to be intent on answering nature’s call, instead of in a “fight-or-flight” mode. 

The activists were just as intent on confrontation and follow Sen. Sinema into the restroom, with one female protester walking right up to the door of the stall that the officeholder enters. That protester, who subsequently identified herself as Sophia Marjanovic, is seen facing the closed stall, insisting that “we need solutions, (like) the ‘Build Back Better’ plan.”

The $3.5 billion monstrosity of a bill called “Build Back Better,” which Sinema opposes, includes (surprise!) a provision for mass amnesty. That prompts a protester, a self-admitted illegal immigrant and the young lady known only as Blanca, to warn Sen. Sinema: “We got you elected, and … we can get you out of office if you don’t support what you promised us.”

Though Blanca cites possible political consequences for Sinema, and complains about the deportation of her grandparents, she is careful not to mention if she has ever cast a ballot in any Arizona election, knowing that such an admission could lead to her own prosecution.

Blanca and other LUCHA protesters could eventually face prosecution for their own recordings of Sen. Sinema’s restroom visit.  

ASU public information officer Adam Wolfe confirms that a probe of the video ambush is underway. 

Times appear to be getting tougher for Sinema — at least when it comes to continued support from her base. Another illegal conducted her own video ambush of Sinema on a flight to Washington, and a group of protesters “greeted” her at Reagan National Airport.

When asked by a reporter if protesters’ tactics were appropriate, Joe Biden responded: “I don’t think they are appropriate tactics, but it happens to everybody. The only people it doesn’t happen to are people who have Secret Service standing around them. It’s part of the process.”

The process of a political education is ongoing … akin to “lifetime learning.” Former Sen. Dennis DeConcini once offered a bit of bipartisan advice to this columnist: “Running for office is a real education. … You always learn something new.” 

What has Sinema learned in recent days?

Perhaps that her emulation of DeConcini’s penchant for deliberation and the late John McCain’s maverick maneuverings prompt impassioned disagreements from those ideologically closest to her.

And perhaps that her political longevity can be found in attracting unaffiliated voters or “soft Republicans” to support her in future campaigns. 

So, look for Kyrsten to develop a new lecture for her ASU students: “Dancing with them that brung you … A Rationale for Revision.”

And undoubtedly, she will revise her schedule for bathroom breaks.