Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Barney Frank gets Heckled: Town Hall Meeting Totally Disrupted

Now we know why Bush refused to allow any dissenters into his public appearances. He only wanted one viewpoint heard. Unfortunately, he allowed this undemocratic attitude to infect those who see this divisive technique as proper in a town hall forum.

This image is a flame called Turmoil by V. Coskrey (c)2008

Barney Frank's experience with public forum censors...ah, that disruptive individuals have the power to stop discussion when they are unruly. The groups that are disrupting the health care debates are not democratic, but dogmatic, tyrannical despots who insist that only they can control our society. They would lead by tyranny and destroy our constitutional democracy. Given a chance, they would employ thought police and force to gain the upper hand. This is how the Taliban took power. This is how Hitler took power. This is how...there are numerous other examples. This is how it appears to me, anyway.

The town halls led by today's politics aim to foster democratic discussion of the issues of health care. Sure, there will be passionate opposition of all sides as the issues are discussed. But DISCUSSION and compromise is the democratic way. Dissenters should be attending the town hall meetings, asking questions, displaying placards, marching in protest, making speeches, stating criticisms, and writing editorial letters, pamphlets, and blogs. They should not disrupt the freedom of others to do the same.

T-shirts should not be banned from meetings. Placards can be held up high on narrow handles so that the view of the members of a meeting are not blocked. Small signs held against the chest can be used peacefully. No group should be allowed to prevent the free speech of another except to limit comments to the peaceful administration of the the meetings such as in the use of the Robert's Rules of Order. Anyone not heard within the meeting itself can make their views known through other channels.

This country is the premier example of how a democracy works. We are held up as an example to the fledgling democracies forming worldwide. Why must these rude groups showcase their opposition in such disruptive ways? What message does this send to other nations? Is this issue of health care such a threat to human rights that violence and total disruption of debate is the only recourse of a minority to be heard? No.

Obama is doing what he can to reunite our country. This win/lose mentality being promoted by some, INCLUDING THE PRESS, is not the essence of democracy. It is not what has made our nation strong. Our Constitution fosters reasoned discussion and compromise, a blending of viewpoints with a protection of human rights for all. Thought police and political censorship have no place in our country.

Bottom line, we can all have a voice. We do not have to block the voice of others to be heard.