If “by vast majorities Americans believe that every citizen should have an equal chance to influence government policy and to hold public office,” then the protests occurring in congressional town hall meetings across the country are perfectly acceptable, and indeed, are to be encouraged. I believe that with the protests, the issue is not of propriety, but of reason and sensibility.
It is widely agreed upon that the protests are examples of some of the most heated civilian political activity as of late. Stories of startling disorder have circulated around the internet, particularly on Youtube. That rowdy behavior ran rampant is undeniable—some went so far as to carry weaponry, such as the man who carried a handgun strapped to his leg to Obama's town hall meeting in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. What was not so much unsettling as it was thoughtless was that while most town hall constituents raised fair and legitimate concerns, some others ignored the issue completely and chose instead to personally insult the hosting congressperson or senator.
Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, for example, was particularly unfortunate in attracting such attendant persons. One man at a Specter town hall meeting stood up just to heckle—damning Specter to hell before asserting that “God's going to stand before [him], and he's going to judge [him] and the rest of [his] damned cronies up on the Hill.” It is those kinds of people who, however unfortunately, negatively branded the protests and protestors.
[...] Even Adam Brandon, Vice President of Communications at Freedom Works, a company helping to fund the protestors, agreed that town hall protestors should step down on the antics, stating, “There [had] been some rumors that we [were] actually advocating people getting into verbal fights and disrupting these town halls and we [had] no part in any of that We were telling people to be respectful.” The health care opposition should not put a damper on its zeal to satisfy the Democrats, but rather to help itself. If it works to make it look more informed and credible, it will gather a greater following and far less criticism. Wilson American Government Eleventh Edition. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2007) "Protester With Gun Outside Obama Town Hall (VIDEO)." Breaking News and Opinion on The Huffington Post Sep < http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/08/11/protester-with-gun- found_n_256614.html>. "United States Senator Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania : Home." United States Senator Arlen Specter, [...]
[...] Ostensibly silly questions asked at town hall meetings seemed to stand testament to the fact that some of the more forthright protestors knew little to nothing of what they spoke about. A woman by the name of Katy Abram, present at the very same town hall meeting mentioned above, confronted Arlen Specter with a rant: don't believe this is just about healthcare, its not about TARP, it's not about left or right, this is about the systematic dismantling of this country. [...]
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