It’s inspiring to see in action. When it works. Informed citizens, gathering in town meetings to discuss and debate the issues in a responsible manner.
But, oh Democracy! How ugly it gets when it’s manipulated and manufactured. Which is exactly what’s happening with today’s so-called “spontaneous” protests against health care reform.
The truth is, there’s nothing spontaneous about them at all. They are all staged protests, paid for by Washington lobbyists, trying to kill any health care reform legislation this year.
And they’re orchestrated by the same people who put together those Tea Bay Parties a few months ago. In fact, Bob MacGuffie, a leader of the so-called “Tea Party Patriots, published on the Internet a list of upcoming congressional town halls, together with a memo on how to raise the most hell. Among his directions:
• Spread out in the hall and try to be in the front half.
• You need to rock the boat early.
• The goal is to rattle him, get him off his prepared script, stand up and shout out.
Clearly, these demonstrations are aimed to disrupt, not to discuss or debate the issues. And I think they’re so ugly, so clearly manufactured, they’ll backfire.
In fact, they’re such a turn-off that, if I were a Democrat, I’d pay them to show up. If I were a Republican, I’d pay them to stay home.
That’s my parting shot for today. I’m Bill Press.