I recently watched video of a town hall meeting in Tampa, Florida.
Apparently, the meeting place held only a few hundred people, but several hundred showed up. Those who were in the hall, unable to fit into the room, began shouting over the speaker. They chanted, "Hear our voice! Hear our voice!" (It probably should have been voiceS, plural, but we'll let that slide.) Because they were disrupting the meeting, security officials came over and closed the doors. This really enraged the people in the hall, and they began to beat on the doors. "Let us in!" When security came back out and told them that they were keeping the doors closed, the room was over-capacity, and they were disrupting the meeting, you could hear several comments. "This is a public meeting!" "Why can't we come in?!" And then a plaintive....
"We only want to hear what is going on!"
Maybe I'm missing something here, but how can you hear what is going on when you and several dozen other yahoos are shouting so loudly that you are drowning out the person who is speaking? I just love that poor pitiful me attitude, where these folks stomp on others' right to speak their minds and then get all pissy when they get called on their own rude behavior. These people squawk about their First Amendment rights being violated after violating that same right of others so thoroughly that the poor First Amendment has to take the morning-after Walk of Shame, hungover, with smeared mascara, its panties stuffed in its purse.
I don't consider going to town hall meetings and making your voice heard to be un-American. On the contrary, I think it is our right as well as a privilege, and I also feel it is our civic duty as concerned citizens. However, I consider shouting down your opponent to be rude and uncivilized. For God's sake, it reminds me of shouting matches with an ex, in which no one was listening, no one was being heard, and things didn't stop until someone was physically pushed, or locked themselves away in another room, or took off in their car just to get the hell away from that toxic atmosphere and all the freakin' shouting. Health care is too important an issue to just shout at the opposition until they can't take it anymore and want to hop in the car and speed away. It is no longer discussion, it is not civil discourse, it is not problem-solving...it is intimidation, pure and simple, designed to silence the opposition, to shout them into submission.
Add to that the distinct lack of accurate information, a high level of paranoia, and a missing compassion gene, and you've got a pretty nasty stew. Just out of curiosity, I'd love to know how many of the most vociferous anti-health care reform protesters have health insurance of their own. Hmmm.
I applaud Congressman Barney Frank for saying “Enough is enough” and giving it right back to a woman who, at a recent town hall meeting, played the Nazi card…to a man who is both a homosexual and a Jew. Way to go, lady, and thank you, Congressman Frank, for the spectacular smackdown. It made my day, and I hope I get to use your phrase “arguing with you would be like arguing with a dining room table” at some point in my life.
Fair warning: I'm not done with the health care thing yet, not by a long shot. And it’s starting to make me very very angry….