Silencing Dissent

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I woke up this morning to a mass e-mail from Jen O'Malley Dillon of the Democratic Party, reading, "There's been a lot of media coverage about organized mobs intimidating lawmakers, disrupting town halls, and silencing real discussion about the need for real health insurance reform."

What? Now I am a little confused. I have seen videos of people showing up complaining about a bill they don't like, to their representatives. How is that silencing discussion? And if lawmakers are intimidated by constituents saying they are angry, isn't that a good thing? I call that democracy.

But it gets even worse. They say that citizens showing up at "town hall" meetings are being funded by "Washington special interests and insurance companies." Funny, I've never seen any communication from "special interests" about this, but I did get e-mail from a friend that simply gave me the dates and times for Congressman Rick Larsen's "town hall" meetings (Aug. 6, 6 p.m., Coupeville Rec Center; Aug. 8, 2 p.m., Mt. Vernon location TBA; Aug. 12, 5 p.m., Everett Station, Weyerhauser Room). And I hope to go. Isn't that good for democracy? Even if you disagree with my views?

The Democratic Party doesn't think so. They say that complaining about the bill is to intend to "disrupt and shut down legitimate conversation." Of course, that is precisely what the Democrats are trying to do: they are trying to shut down my legitimate conversation, to intimidate me into not speaking my mind.

Perhaps some of the disconnect here is that where I'm from, the Town Hall is not a metaphor, it's a real thing. All major town business for the year was done at the annual meeting, where every registered voter got a vote on every part of the budget, on capital spending, on bylaw changes, and so on. And sometimes things get heated. This is normal: people are angry. The solution is not to tell people to shut up as the Democrats are doing, the solution is to have an organized and ordered meeting where rules are explained and enforced. And if someone is continually out of order, you simply remove them.

As us tech nerds like to say, this is a solved problem.

Now, I do agree with some of the complaints of the Dems. Some of the information being spread about this bill is wrong, as I've noted before. But then again, the Democrats are lying about the bill, too: in this very e-mail they actually say, there is no "government takeover" in any part of any plan supported by the President or Congress. But we know that the government is creating a new insurance plan to take over a large segment of the insurance market; a health insurance exchange to control all individual insurance plans. Those are nothing but government takeovers.

And they also have a legitimate point about some of the discourse: I think it is low to compare Obama to Nazis, and to resort to yelling and so on. But the Democrats alternatively ignored and cheered when their own did the same thing to Republicans when the GOP was in control, so this is a nonsensical complaint coming from the DNC.

It's sad that on the only two legitimate points the Democrats have, they are hypocrites.

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"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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This page contains a single entry by pudge published on August 5, 2009 8:59 AM.

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