Opinion

McMahan flap way overblown

Two important things to remember about the dustup that ensued in Olympia last week when 26th District Rep. Lois McMahan excused herself from the House floor prior to the session’s invocation, which was delivered by an Islamic cleric.

First, despite the inflammatory rhetoric of her critics — fueled by misleading headlines in several daily newsapers — McMahan’s actions in no way constituted a “protest.” According to the dictionary, a protest is a formal expression of disapproval, which isn’t what happened at all.

There’s a huge difference between politely stepping out into the lobby because you’re not comfortable with what’s being said in the chamber, and actually protesting. McMahan didn’t try to disrupt the prayer or prevent the imam from offering it. Nor did she ask others to join her. She simply chose not to participate, as is her right, and no one would even have been aware of it had not a reporter for the state’s largest — and arguably most liberal — newspaper made a front--page story out of it.

Which brings us to our second point: Despite all the hue and cry about McMahan last week, it’s instructive to note that virtually all of the criticism comes from people who didn’t vote for McMahan in the first place, which puts it in perspective.

McMahan makes no secrect of her beliefs as a devout Christian and a political conservative, and the voters who elected her know exactly who she is and what she stands for.

They also know an ambush when they see one, and it’s our guess McMahan will emerge from the experience no more or less popular than she was before it.

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