From a Roll Call article, July 28th, 2010:
[After Senator Reid stated he would pursue the DREAM Act as a stand-alone bill]
“This is getting to be a joke. No one believes that there is enough time that we could do a responsible job,” said Sen. John Cornyn (Texas), chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. The Senate should approach the issue in “a responsible, reasonable way and not just try to play to the peanut gallery and act like we’re going to do something we’re not.”
Woah, woah buddy. Peanut gallery? How did you know? Are you reading our gchats? Are you reading MINE!?
Let’s break down the term “peanut gallery”, point by point. This, DREAM team, is something we gotta embrace.
1. A peanut gallery is an audience that heckles the performer. TRUE. Politicians are performers. They get up and talk to the press, make big speeches, take appropriate photos, smile for the camera, kiss babies, and do lots of other things because they are performing. For us. And when we don’t like the performance, we heckle. Because you know what? They work for us.
2. The term originated in the days of vaudeville as a nickname for the cheapest (and ostensibly rowdiest) seats in the theater. TRUE. We have no money. Zippo. Nada. Donation-based, and 99.9% of the people who work on DREAM do it for free. And yes, we are rowdy. Have you been to our marches? Have you HEARD our chants? Rowdy indeed.
3. The cheapest snack served at the theater would often be peanuts, which the patrons would sometimes throw at the performers on stage to show their disapproval. TRUE AGAIN. If our politicians are not performing, throw peanuts. Not a DREAM supporter? Throw peanuts. Not a DREAM co-sponsor? Throw peanuts. Not supporting the DREAM Act as a stand-alone bill as a first step towards immigration reform? Throw peanuts. [Peanuts are clearly a metaphor for sophisticated political organizing that includes community outreach, lobbying, coalition-building, message refining, and direct action].
4. The phrases “no comments from the peanut gallery” or “quiet in the peanut gallery” are extensions of the name.
The Peanut Gallery will NOT be silenced! We will be heard! We may be the cheapest, rowdiest seats, but we’ve got a voice! Keep up the great work everybody! Heckle like it’s your job!