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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

August 7, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Town-hall protests: legitimate free speech or dirty tactics?

Deceit has frightened people protesting at forums

The people who are confronting elected officials at health-care forums are angry and frightened at the thought of reform.

Of course they are. Very clever liars have told them that if health-care reform passes, they will no longer be able to visit their doctor and that illegal immigrants will be given free access to any doctor in the country.

Very clever liars have told them that if health reform passes, pregnant women who are carrying babies with Down syndrome will be forced to have abortions.

Very clever liars have told them that if health-care reform passes, their parents and grandparents will be put to death by the government.

The troubling thing is there are people who resort to using very clever lies because they have nothing else to offer.

The frightening thing is that very clever liars can fool so many otherwise intelligent, good people.

— Catherine Alexander, Seattle

Protests born to keep government from taking over lives

Once again, The Seattle Times takes a liberal stand. The sub headline of the article about health-care protests reads, “Democrats say campaign orchestrated by GOP” [page one, August 6]. Are you serious? Can you not accept that the majority of the American people do not want the government to take over health care?

I am a member of the GOP, and I have not received one e-mail, letter or phone call encouraging me to go to a town-hall meeting. Organizers don’t need to contact us. We are smart enough to figure this out ourselves, and there is a massive wave of support against more government in our lives.

Are you going to print that President Obama has contacted millions of Americans via e-mail, encouraging them to go to these town-hall meetings to show support for his plan? How orchestrated is that?

If The Times were truly unbiased and professional, it would run a follow-up article stating that this is a grass-roots movement — because that’s all it is.

Many of us are simply fed up by this administration’s dishonesty and attempt to take over virtually every aspect of our lives.

— Kathy Connors, Medina

Town-hall protests only taking cues from our organizer-in-chief

There is a saying attributed to Vladimir Lenin that goes, “Accuse others of what you are doing.”

That slogan came to mind the other day as the White House and Democrats began a concerted campaign to portray critics of the President Obama health plan as a mob, as Nazis, brownshirts and agents of corporate special interests. Even more sinister, the people attending town-hall meetings in order to protest the Obama plan are accused of being organized.

Meanwhile, the White House has sent out an e-mail urging its supporters to attend those same meetings and has taken the unprecedented, Nixonian step of asking supporters to forward to the White House any e-mails or other documents that are critical of the Obama health plan.

We should remember that Obama began his career as a community organizer. His role was to identify grievances and mobilize organized dissent. Under the Constitution, that was his right.

But now, the Democrats are trying to demonize dissent and squelch public debate. Locally, Reps. Brian Baird and Jay Inslee are hiding from their constituents, apparently wanting to avoid inconvenient questions.

The plan seems to be, “Pass the bill, and read it later.” This is neither transparency or democracy.

— Stephen Triesch, Shoreline

Disruptive behavior adds nothing to health-care conversation

It is one thing to disagree with the health-care proposals backed by the Obama administration. It is quite another to interrupt the discourse with disruptive, rude and offensive emotional outbursts.

I support the health-care proposals, especially the government option, and I have good reasons for doing so. It is obvious that those who use screaming and the chanting of slogans to obstruct civil discussion on the issue are doing so because they lack a rational and coherent basis for their opposition.

And Rush Limbaugh has the effrontery to brand Democrats as Nazis!

— Josiah M Erickson Jr., Seattle

Little legitimacy in protests at town-hall meetings

There are a lot of differences between the current town-hall protesters and Bush-era anti-war protesters.

Anti-war protesters were protesting an illegal war that we were lied to about. They only wanted a voice in their own democracy.

For that they were tear gassed, Maced, beaten with billy clubs and herded into free-speech zones, built well away from Bush political events where they wouldn’t be seen or heard by the press.

Town-hall protesters are trying to disrupt legitimate democratic, public discourse. Many of them are being paid off or tricked into these protests by big insurance companies and pharmaceutical industry-shills. For that they are getting media attention as legitimate protesters. None are being Maced or tear gassed, or thrown into free-speech zones.

After all, we only do that to people who believe in freedom and democracy, not to corporate bigwigs who lie, cheat and disrupt civil discourse for nothing more than their own wealth and power.

Obviously money rules in this country. Democracy is secondary.

— Rob Moitoza, Seattle

Comments | More in Barack Obama administration, First Amendment, Health care, Politics, Reform, Republicans

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