Saturday, August 8, 2009

Bully politics in town hall meetings

The madness needs to come to an end.

From the New York Times:
...members of Congress have been shouted down, hanged in effigy and taunted by crowds. In several cities, noisy demonstrations have led to fistfights, arrests and hospitalizations


Some [conservative commentators and web sites] urge opponents to be disruptive. "Pack the hall," said a strategy memo circulated by the web site Tea Party Patriots that included instructions to "rock-the-boat early in the Rep's presentation. It added, "Yell out and challenge the Rep's statements early...Get him off his prepared script and agenda...Stand up and shout and sit right back down."
Extremists on the right need to come to their senses. It's one thing to oppose the health care reform that Washington desires to pass; if you don't agree with something, it is your right to voice your opinion to your Congressional representative. It's another thing to use violent tactics in order to do so.

There have been many instances over the week of violence, shouting down representatives, and overall threats to democracy. You heard me right -- what these thugs are doing is nothing less than threatening our very ideals of democracy.

Imagine if you will: you're at a town hall meeting. Your Congressman is talking about health care reform -- only you can't hear him over the dozen or so right-wing extremists who are shouting over him every ten seconds or so. What will come of these actions, you wonder? Will violence erupt, like it has in St. Louis? Will you witness an effigy of your Congressional representative as you leave the hall? Will you ever attend such a meeting ever again?

These violent protests -- conducted at times by people who are not even part of the district -- are nothing more than bully tactics meant to scare both the legislators and the people whom they represent. It's a shame that people cannot be civilized and utilize the democratic principles our nation is based on, cannot use anything but fear to make their point.

And what of the conservative organizations that have encouraged such behavior? What are they afraid of, that these politicians will actually be able to articulate their opinion? That the people they represent are unable to voice their opinions, too? I'm sure there are plenty of respectable citizens who oppose health care reform for legitimate reasons. Why not arm them with talking points instead of strategies on how to disrupt a town hall meeting?

This isn't American; this is bully politics.

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