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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

August 9, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Town-hall protests: exercising freedom or hurting discourse?

Not just conservatives protesting ‘Obamacare’

It’s interesting to note there’s not a word of concern heard from the Democratic leadership when Conservative speakers are shouted down by organized liberal students and those allegedly from unions and minority groups or when conservative guest speakers are uninvited by colleges and universities for fear their words might lead the students to become unruly.

But Democrats are screaming that those vocally protesting [“Rowdy protests at health forums,” page one, August 6] against the Democratic-backed health-care plan at town-hall meetings are part of a Republican plot to get Obama. Worse yet, according to Sen. Barbara Boxer, these protesters are well dressed, and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi likens them to Nazis.

It would seem that in the Democratic leadership’s opinion, it’s only mean-spirited and uninformed conservatives who object to having a government-mandated health plan; that all loyal Democrats willingly accept the notion that their leaders know what’s best for them, and thus wouldn’t dream of publicly protesting against it.

This is yet another sure indication of the arrogance of certain members of the Democratic leadership that they so strongly and vehemently object to citizens openly and publicly opposing their agendas.

They apparently can’t grasp the idea that every day more people are becoming aware of the fact that government often creates more problems than it solves and being in Congress does not magically endow one with wisdom, foresight and truthfulness.

— Lee Fowble, Edmonds

Shouting out opposition not the way to exercise freedom

Nobody will deny the value of encouraging people to attend town-hall meetings and meet with their representatives. But when people are encouraged to attend for the purpose of disrupting discussion of issues, then we have a different problem.

Organized efforts and e-mail campaigns by the Republican National Committee, encouraging recipients to attend and disrupt town-hall meetings of Democratic members, should not be tolerated.

Real debate over health care should be encouraged; however, shouting down questions of the audience and not allowing a member of Congress to respond does not do that. In fact, it is a tactic that many voters are tired of seeing, which was voiced in last fall’s election.

What is more troubling is that it is not a just an extreme group that is encouraging disruption of official meetings but the national committee itself, which claims to represent mainstream America.

There are many different feelings about health care in our country. All of those feelings should be voiced. However, when one side takes it upon themselves to shout out the opposition, it makes you wonder whose interest they really represent. It certainly is not the interest of freedom.

— Richard Hildreth, Pacific

Can Republicans say yes?

Whether it’s the Sonia Sotomayor confirmation or health-care reform or the Cash for Clunkers program or anything else that truly benefits the average American while threatening the profits of corporate America and the prescriptive moralizing of the religious right, the Republicans have proven they can say yes to only one thing: no.

— John R. Scannell, Sammamish

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


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