Earlier this week, news that a protest at Dana Rohrabacher's district office in Huntington Beach organized by Indivisible OC-48 led to a two-year-old girl getting knocked down and a 71-year-old having to get hospitalized made national news. Then the story became catnip to the Right after Rohrabacher issued a statement calling the protest a "mob action that not only intimidates but coerces,” that the "holier-than-thou obstructionists will be held responsible for this outrageous assault," and accused them of "political thuggery, pure and simple.”
Rohrabacher's nastiness led to the mom of the two-year-old, Megan Blash, to reach out to the Weekly and give her side of the story. The high school teacher lives in Rohrabacher's district and says his comments are "disheartening. I'm a constituent that's trying to be involved and do what I can on a small scale. It makes me sad to think that anyone would think I'd put my daughter in danger."
It was Blash's first action with Indivisible OC-48, a group just months old that has already made local waves for their hilarious online trolling of Rohrabacher, the most trollable politician in Orange County. She's been making a conscious action to do "one small action once a week" ever since Donald Trump got elected president—phone calls to politicians, Facebook posts, talking with friends about issues. "My students need someone to stand up for them," she said. "And I need to stand up. This is not normal, what's going on."
She connected with Indivisible because, "This group looked welcoming. It's important to me to let my representative know he's not representing me." Their planned Valentine's Day visit to his district office "looked easy" to do because it was right before Lola's nap time. Taking her daughter was a no-brainer: Lola went to the Women's March in Orange County, and Megan took her to vote in the primary and general election. "It's part of our life to be civically engaged in our community," she says.
Mother and daughter made a personalized Valentine's Day card exhorting Rohrabacher to be nice. About 75 to 100 Indivisible members gathered at a 7-11 near his district office before marching. Two police officers were outside the building where Dana's offices are to greet the group, which decided to split up in groups of 10 as to not crowd the office's hallways.
Blash went with the first group because Lola was getting tired. Everyone was urged to remain "orderly," according to Blash, with Indivisible members even shushing one of their own who started chanting "Out with Rohrabacher" lest they disturb other tenants in the building (this was noted by Orange County Register reporter Martin Wisckol in his dispatch).
When they got to Dana's door, someone rang the intercom. No one answered; the door was locked. People started sliding their cards underneath the door, which had a camera. Megan let Lola slide their Valentine's underneath the door "because she wanted to do it— she's two years old, and she wants to do everything right now!
"She gets down and pushes it under," Megan continues, "and she's really pushing it under. But I personally saw a tug [from the other side of the door] to get it."
Then the door abruptly swung out in the hallway, knocking Lola down.
"I teach at a high school," Megan says. "When it's passing period, I never swing the door open [out into the hallway], because I might take a kid out. I peek out first. I feel that's what anyone would do if you feel there might possibly be people passing by."
In the chaos that followed, a Rohrabacher staffer got knocked down. Lash offered her hand as she comforted a wailing Lola; the staffer refused the help (a picture by longtime Orange County Register photographer captured this). Soon after, the Indivisible members left the building, and police told everyone to go home.
Blash is surprised the story has gone as far as it did. "Yeah, it's scary—my toddler got hit by a door," she says. "But that's part of just having a toddler—accidents happen."
She's infuriated, however, about Rohrbacher's simultaneous response and non-response. "It's the most misleading thing I've ever seen," Blash says of Dana's characterization of the protest as thuggish. "It's like grandmas and retired vets and stay-at-home moms. That's who can go to a protest at 1 o'clock."
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As for Rohrabacher's lack of sympathy for what happened to her daughter, Blash says, "I can't believe what a bad man Dana is. He's a bad man. They never said they're sorry for knocking down Lola. There wasn't even a tweet. Not that I expect that from someone like him. That lack of decency is disheartening."
Blash is back to making phone calls, and plans to attend an Indivisible-organized rally today in Huntington Beach. She even made T-shirts with her daughter commemorating Rohrbacher's attack on them. "When they refuse to give us appointments, then we feel it's important to highlight the fact that you're unresponsive," she says. "I'm a teacher. I grade paper at homes. I have a daughter. I have a husband. I am doing my best to make this a part of my life. I"m not a professional. I'm doing what I can."
She ended her interview as the good teacher she is: with a call for civility. "It's not fair on either side that we're being harsh to each other," she says. "I want a good government and a good society, and I know that people on the other side want that, too. Can we show each other grace, for God's sake?