Healthcare Protests: Confusing Politicains Since 2009

Editorial Cartoon by Ramirez

Editorial Cartoon by Ramirez

The recent string of summer town hall meetings held by the President and members of Congress have brought out a wave of protests against the proposed health care program.  This should not be a surprise.  Americans have been exercising their First Amendment rights in the form of protests since the bill of rights became part of the Constitution.  Before that, there were still protests, like the one depicted above.  The protests occurring all around the country today, however, are a different type of protest than we’re used to.

First, the protesters appear different.  They are older. These are not college students or young people, they’re people who are over the hill and beyond.  The average health care protester is probably old enough to be the grandparent of the environmental and anti-war protestors we’re used to seeing in the news.  Second, many of them are conservative.   Traditional protesting (like that which is going on at these town hall meetings) is a tool that was traditionally used to advance the liberal agenda, while the health care protests are dedicated to stopping it.  Finally, this is the first time that one of Barack Obama’s plans has met widespread protest.  Controversial actions such as the $700+ billion TARP bailout, billions worth of appropriations and spending bills, and the cap and trade program were passed with little public outcry.  Now, on the issue of health care reform, the people are, for the first time, coming out in great numbers to speak out against the pet project of the Democrat poster boy of the century.

These departures from our common conception of protests have sent liberal politicians reeling; trying to decide how to react.  For once they are on the receiving end of protests, something that many of the Democrat politicians in office today have never experienced on such a scale.  The result has been a myriad of reactions, none of which are appropriate.

The White House chose denial, calling the protests ‘manufactured’.  While some of the protests may, in fact, have been influenced by conservative interest groups, the widespread scale and nature of the protests and protesters is evidence that they are not manufactured.  The simple fact is that the GOP is too fractured at this point to organize any kind of protest, let alone one on the scale that we’re seeing.  The claim of manufactured protests is, howver, congruent with the White House’s inability to accept that the people could disagree with it’s policies.

Congressional leaders, however, went even further.  Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D, Nev.) chose to use the phrase ‘evil mongers’ to refer to the protesters.  It is a phrase he proudly repeated several times for journalists.  Evil is a strong word, used to refer to morally objectionable people and actions.  Is it really appropriate for American citizens exercising their First Amendment rights to express their discontent with a governmental movement?  No, it isn’t.  Not at all.

That leaves Nancy Pelosi (D, Cal.), the Speaker of the House, who showed just how out of touch she is with the country, it’s people, and the Constitution she swore to support and defend, by calling the protesters ‘un-American’ .  She really did.  These are ordinary American Citizens, exercising their rights, as delineated in the First Amendment of the American Constitution.  They are Americans, exercising the rights granted to them as Americans.  Maybe they’re more American than you, Ms. Pelosi.

The most interesting part of these reactions and the similar reactions of other Democrat politicians is the one reaction that is being avoided like the plague: understanding; empathy.  Executive and Congressional Democrats are so stubbornly behind this very liberal concept that they are unwilling to accept the fact that the American people may not want this proposed health care plan.  Let’s hope they learn before a destructive bill is passed.  If not, they’ll surely learn in the next election.

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