The right wing blogs are pumping up protesters at heatlhcare town halls as “real Americans” (when we’re all real Americans, thank you very much) when the reality is many of them are nothing more than Astroturfers.
Lately, as the Washington Post’s E.J. Dionne points out, people are bringing loaded weapons to healthcare twon halls that feature the President of the United States.Â
From Dionne’s column:Â Â
“How would our friends on the right have reacted to someone at a Reagan or a Bush speech carrying a sign that read: “It is time to water the tree of liberty”? That would be a reference to Thomas Jefferson’s declaration that the tree “must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”
This is not about the politics of populism. It’s about the politics of the jackboot. It’s not about an opposition that has every right to free expression. It’s about an angry minority engaging in intimidation backed by the threat of violence.
There is a philosophical issue here that gets buried under the fear that so many politicians and media-types have of seeming to be out of touch with the so-called American heartland.
The simple fact is that an armed citizenry is not the basis for our freedoms. Our freedoms rest on a moral consensus, enshrined in law, that in a democratic republic we work out our differences through reasoned, and sometimes raucous, argument. Free elections and open debate are not rooted in violence or the threat of violence. They are precisely the alternative to violence, and guns have no place in them.
On the contrary, violence and the threat of violence have always been used by those who wanted to bypass democratic procedures and the rule of law. Lynching was the act of those who refused to let the legal system do its work. Guns were used on election days in the Deep South during and after Reconstruction to intimidate black voters and take control of state governments.”
Chris Matthews took apart a New Hampshire resident who brought a loaded weapon to Obama’s healthcare reform town hall there last week.Â Most of Matthew’s guest’s comments were straight out of the Rush Limbaugh school of messaging.Â
Despite popular perception, there are a number of liberals who own firearms; heck, I’m sure some even got a new CCW permit from Sheriff Sandra Hutchens.Â So that brings me to this idea.Â The next time Congressman Royce or Congressman John Campbell have any sort of Town Hall, orÂ local public speaking event, bring your loaded weapon.Â If you have a CCW, wear it under your jacket or put it in your purse.Â Have a rifle?Â Load it up andÂ use the shoulder strap like dad taught you to when you went hunting for the first time.Â Bring it.Â Bring your weapons along with a big sign that saysÂ “Healthcare Reform Now or Else!”Â See what sort of reactionÂ you get and be sure to have the phone number for your lawyer handy as well asÂ theÂ 800 number for the NRA and a second of the second amendment.
John Campbell’s “Campbell for Congress” website has a call to action — “Join the Resistance.” The resistance of course being people who still believe “as far as they know” that the president of the United States is an American citizen.Â Join the resistance?!Â Is John Campbell suddenly Che’ Â Guevera?Â Of course, if you brough a gun to a Chuck DeVore rally (which could be held inside a “Juice It Up”), Chuck will probably tell you he’s fired weapons more powerful than what you have in his military reserve days.
How would our conservative friends feel about protestors bringing loaded weapons to a town hall sponsored by their belovered conservative columnists?Â Will they tell us we’re using fear and intimidation?Â Will they call us Nazi’s?Â Jack-booted thugs?Â
Perhaps it’s time to find out.