>This is the famous painting by Norman Rockwell titled “Freedom of Speech.” It has become an icon of the most basic of American values. An individual getting up in a town hall meeting, and calmly giving his opinion of an issue before a legislator votes on that issue.
Expressing one’s view on how his government should set law on any given issue in a calm, uninterrupted manner, is the rock our freedoms are based on. Respecting the views of all Americans, each American has their time to speak up and state their position.
The goal might be to get a politician to vote one way, or another, but the reality is that you have a right to voice your views, without intimidation.
The same goes for the treatment given to a politician at the town hall meeting. You may disagree with the politicians viewpoint on an issue, but he has a right to be heard without intimidation, just as a citizen does. This has been the hallmark of the debate of issues, within the free people of America.
Over this weekend, many politicians held town hall meetings about the health care issue. An issue that the polls tell us, a majority of Americans want to see a change in the system we now have. Yet, these usually lightly attended and calm proceedings, were met in more than one venue, with the loud screaming and shout down of the politicians speaking at the town hall event.
They were all Democratic party speakers. The shouting citizens were all against the change in the health care system the Congress is considering. The meetings were worthless, because the exchange of ideas and definition of the legislation never took place. The citizens were successful in shouting down the speakers. One Democratic representative had to be escorted out of the hall by 5 policemen.
This would all seem very America except that these citizens were not voicing their individual concerns. These people were part of a organized effort, backed by corporate lobbyist, to defeat the current Congressional legislation on health care.
They hijacked and twisted the age old tradition of free speech in an open town hall meeting. The politicians were not able to speak, but worse, citizens speaking for the legislation were shouted down and not able to voice their opinion in a calm manner heard by all.
These are the actions more comparable to the “brown shirts” of early Nazi Germans, not the actions of sincere people voicing a deep concern. The brown shirts of Germany used to go to town hall meetings and disrupt those meetings by shouting down the majority view, and then out in the streets would physically attack the meeting attendees.
I read no reports of any attacks on people, but our calm system of debate, was stopped. Whether you are for, or against the current legislation, we must all be against this kind of fascist behavior. Intimidation has no place in a democracy of ideas, freely voicing those ideas, or allowing those from the government and the public to voice their concerns about future legislative action.
Money, intimidation, and fear is how corporate America has a louder voice than individual Americans.