Sure, there is some heckling and a lot of heated rhetoric, but this is democracy the way it should be. People are involved and not just letting a far off group of politicians and bureaucrats decide the fate of the nation. Maybe it will even spill over into our local elections here in Lowell this Fall. I am hoping so and hoping the result will be increased voter turnout.
This whole issue of Town Hall Meetings and active citizens was discussed in an article in today's Lowell Sun. Written by Matt Murphy,♠ the article, "Is this debate healthy?" has the subtitle: "Tsongas says local -- and vocal -- meetings on reform are important." Here is the heart of the article:
Controversy stemming from the protests has centered around whether a majority of the country is truly opposed to President Barack Obama's health-care reform plan, or if Republican and special-interest groups are purposefully organizing the disruptive protests to pressure lawmakers.With regard to the question of if the Republican or special-interest groups♥ are organizing these protests, I think that they are "Johnny come lately" to this protest movement. I base that upon my own participation in the Greater Lowell Tea Party movement. Unless you think that Chelmsford Republican activist Sandi Martinez is part of the Republican Establishment (hint here, she has crossed swords with some of the State Republican Party apparatchiks) the local Tea Baggers, as we are sometimes called, is a strickly grass roots effort.
Here is a comment by Law Professor Glenn Reynolds♦ in The Washington Examiner ("Remember when Protest was Patriotic?"):
It's true, of course, that conservative and libertarian organizations -- ranging from former House Speaker Newt Gingrich's American Solutions to FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity -- are getting involved and providing advice and support, just as numerous lefty groups have always done with left-leaning movements.And would a college professor ever lie to you? Of course not. Just look at UMass Lowell Professor Frank Talty.
But, as I noted in an April 15 column in The Wall Street Journal, those groups were playing catch-up to a movement that was already rolling on its own.
UMass Lowell political-science professor Frank Talty drew comparisons to the last time Congress tried to tackle the health-care system.In this case he has skipped right over the more recent Bush Administration attempt to reform Social Security. The fact is, the protest knife cuts both ways. Just ask those who were trying to reform Social Security. And, then we have the "Truthers" out there.
"Clearly, there's some kind of communication going on among those opposed to health-care reform, whether it's the Republican party, special-interest parties or listeners of Rush Limbaugh," Talty said. "The shrillness of the debate, of the opposition, reminds me of what happened in 1993, when health-care reform got close. The opposition is ramping up, and people are getting scared off."
But, back to our Congresswoman.
She also admitted that she is unlikely to change her mind on the need for reform, but said listening to voters can impact her views on certain aspects of the complex bill.To bring up a hackneyed expression, she "gets it." Citizens are trying to impact her views on aspects of a very complex bill.
I, for one, think we need health care reform. I even have a question pending before Representative Tsongas' staff. It has been there for a couple of weeks. If an answer doesn't emerge soon I will just give you my opinion on the issue.
In the mean time, it is my humble opinion that we have had too much "trust me" out of DC and not enough hard facts. That said, the US Congress is in the process of putting a bill together and as Bismark once said, "If you like laws and sausages, you should never watch either one being made."
The other thing to keep in mind is the idea of evolution. As much as someone from the US Government, never mind the Branch, says that things won't be like that, evolution is a powerful fact of nature and whatever the US Congress passes and the President signs, it will evolve. That is a fact of life and even Creationists know it is true. The question is, where will it go? That is why the initial crafting is so important.
Regards — Cliff
♠ Why was the dateline Boston? What does Boston have to do with anything? Does the mention of a couple of other Democratic Congressmen require a Boston dateline?
♥ It is always good to remember that we are all members of one or another "special interest" group. I am a resident of Lowell, a person on Social Security, a retired military person, a veteran of the Viet-nam war, a Roman Catholic, a pilot and on and on. And so it goes.
♦ Yes, that Glenn Reynolds, the Instapundit.