Sunday, September 13, 2009

They Protested

Jeff over at Wormtown Taxi writes today about the protest which took place in Washington, D.C. yesterday. I’m grateful to him for articulating something which has been percolating in me for some time. He highlights the sharp contrast between protesting for altruistic reasons in defense of others and protesting because of a perceived threat that your own ox is about to be gored.

It’s difficult to characterize these protesters, these tea party-ers, these birthers and tenthers, except as Jeff did when he wrote (a la the movie “Network”): “[They are] mad as hell, and not gonna take this anymore...". If only “this” could be precisely, decisively defined. In response to Jeff’s post I wrote the following:

The fruit salad of ill-informed, bumper sticker philosophy that has characterized these protesters has left me puzzled. When I see their outrage, I can't help but wonder where the heck was it for, say, the last eight years? Why now?

I've called them sheep and puppets for having been manipulated and stirred up by the health insurance companies and their deep pocketed lobbyists. But unless something had them upset in the first place, they shouldn't have been quite so susceptible to such extreme and patently obvious lies.

The presidential campaign last year got ugly. But it never reached the current level of extreme hatred until this summer. I think the opposition to health insurance reform (insurance companies, their lobbyists, Republicans, etc.) either knew what they were doing or were lucky when they tapped into a deep feeling of shock and fear among mostly white, mostly middle class and, based on August town hall meetings, mostly middle aged or older Americans. I honestly believe that having a well educated, articulate, charismatic black man as President of the United States has shaken them to their core.

I'm a liberal and a lower-case-i independent. President Barack Obama is a Democrat and appreciates the liberal wing of his party, but he is a remarkably conservative, centrist politician. To see him portrayed as Hitler, a Socialist and a radical intent on "pulling the plug on Grandma" would be laughable if these people weren't so damned serious and damn near unhinged by blind rage.

Political awareness is one's responsibility as a citizen. Heck, the first letter I wrote to a politician was to President Nixon when I was in elementary school! Vigorous debate, opposing viewpoints, competing philosophies and legislation are vital to a healthy Democracy. But so are facts. So is the truth. So is respect.


dancingmorganmouse said...

I've been reading a couple of articles, including one you tweeted (Dowd) - I'm struggling to understand why people would care about the colour of his skin. Really? Is it the issue? I just don't get it I'm afraid.

Pink Granite said...

There is an awful lot going on with the protesters who showed up in Washington, D.C. yesterday and others around the nation. There is little to unite them except anger and hatred.
It's sad to say, but I do believe their discomfort and displeasure with the color of our President's skin really is a significant piece of the mix.
- Lee

Pink Granite said...

Also -
I'm not sure who first posited that the election of an African-American president meant the United States was now "post racial", but they were wildly incorrect.
- Lee

dancingmorganmouse said...

It's really, really disappointing if it's the case. Really disappointing.