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Health Care Townhall Mobs: It’s AstroTurf not Grassroots
To be fair, officially, the Republican Party, through the elected head of their party, denies that these town hall protests are not created by the Republican Party, but are actually real, grass root, spontaneous outrage pouring out unbidden from average American’s opposed to Obama’s efforts to reform health care.
The Chairman of the Republican Party, Michael Steele was recently quoted this way:
I had nothing to do with that, I did not encourage that. And we’re not encouraging people to be angry I mean to the point of being nasty and brutish and ugly. That’s not what this is about. There’s no upside for the Republican Party or the people involved to do that. Now some people, you know, that’s how they express their frustration, that’s how they express their frustration. But that’s not something deliberately coordinated by me or any one state party.
While the words are there, the evidence tells us something entirely different. Consider an article in the Wall Street Journal by Karl Rove served as Senior Advisor to President George W. Bush from 2000–2007, "The Architect" of President Bush's 2000 and 2004 campaigns, and Deputy Chief of Staff from 2004–2007.
Defeating the public option should be a top priority for the GOP this year.
In recent days we have seen disruptions of town hall meetings intended to share information on the health reform plans being developed, to answer questions, and to receive feedback from voters. What has been taking place is not discussion, not debate, and not productive.
The fact is that the GOP and Right Wing Extremist Groups are orchestrating these town call mêlées. The blog Tea Party Patriots
posts the time and location of town hall meetings and encourages it’s supporters to go there and disrupt the process. Perhaps it is interesting to know that the site Tea Party Patriots is managed by Tom Gaitens, a field organizer for the industry-funded lobbying group called Freedom Works. Gaitens is providing his followers with a list of town hall forums, with a strategy document outlining various disruptive techniques, and, interestingly enough, the things seen at these disruptive town hall meetings are the same as those delineated in the Gaitens documents.
Another Right Wing Group behind these disruptive town hall meetings is Rick Scott, head of CPR (Conservatives for Patient’s Rights). Rick Scott founder of Columbia Hospital Corporation and later Columbia/HCA was also discovered defrauding the government out of hundreds of millions of dollars. The company he ran pleaded guilty to defrauding Medicare and paid a $1.7 billion dollar fine, while Scott bailed out just in time leaving taking millions in severance pay with him.
What Followed these organized efforts to stop all discussion of the Health Reform Issue
· In Tampa, Florida, a town hall meeting erupted in violence and cops had to be called to break up fist fights and shoving matches.
· In North Carolina Democratic Representative Brad Miller announced he wouldn’t be holding any town hall meetings because he had received death threats.
· In Maryland, protesters hung a Democratic congressman in effigy to oppose health-care reform.
It is not concerning that people come out an speak against something being proposed by their elected representatives, this is actually what should be done, and must be done if our system is to thrive. What is upsetting is that the protestors are not there to debunk proposals, they are not their to advocate for something different, they are there for one reason only, and that is to stop the discussion. The protestors are there to prevent their fellow citizens from asking questions, or hearing responses. This is an example of: If I can’t win this debate I will prevent the debate from taking place.
Some have suggested that the supporters of health reform, the millions without health care, should be showing up to counter the protestors with shouting supporters. This may sound logical, but really, have you ever listened to Hard Ball, or the Ed Show where three or four people all try to be heard at the same time. What you end up with is not information, but only noise.
Other’s have suggested that it would help is to require attendees to present voter registration cards or other ID to verify that they are actually from the Representative’s district. It is suspected that most of these protestors are bused in, flown in, or driven in from all over the country to disrupt a Congressman from talking with his or her constituents. This sounds good, but asking for ID brings up images of censorship and Big Brother control over freedom of speech so, that is out.
We can quiet the noise and ease the anger and end the shoving only by exposing the fear and extremist behaviors taking place.
I have been a progressive, liberal person for many years. I was not a happy camper while George W was President. I had and have just as negative feelings toward Bush and what he did while President as these protestors have toward Obama and what he is attempting to do. But I never tried to silence those which whom I disagreed. I endured what happened because we the people elected and re-elected George W. Bush. In a democracy you sometimes lose the election. Sometimes your bill fails, or is compromised into something you hate. The situation can be endured because you know that if something isn’t working, and if enough people want a change then a change can be accomplished. But the change comes when a majority of the people wants the change. This town hall protesting is not like that, it is something else, something less. The town hall mob wants to stop changes they don’t like even if the majority want something else. This is the minority trying to stop change by spreading misinformation (lies) and stopping the discussion. This mob stuff is not what our system is all about. This mob stuff is truly UnAmerican.
Article submitted Saturday, August 08, 2009 & read 479 times.
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