Despite Democratic descriptions of those protesting the President’s health care as a “mob,” protesters on the whole have conducted themselves in a civil manner. And despite conservative criticism of Democratic Representatives (and Senators) of painting their critics with a broad brush (as some have done), a good number of Democrats, like the late Jim Hunter, have shown great respect for their political adversaries.
And I’m pleased to report that one such Democrat, Connecticut’s Chris Murphy is a graduate of America’s finest liberal arts’ college. Although “mobbed” by angry constituents at a supermarket in his district, this good man was unfazed and stood up for citizens’ rights to speak out:
Murphy said it didn’t matter to him whether those attending were part of a coordinated effort or just on their own.
“Any time I’m talking to my constituents in an unfiltered way I consider it productive,” he said in a phone interview afterward.
Murphy acknowledged that a few angry voices dominated the gathering, at least initially. But he said that didn’t bother him. “Was that out of a Norman Rockwell town meeting painting? No. But there are big issues being discussed in Washington … and people have a right to be concerned, even angry about it.”
It’s too bad my representatives in Washington haven’t shown such understanding for their critics’ concerns. (Heck, they don’t even seem to be open to meeting with us.) Still, we should act as if all our representatives were as open to our concerns as Murphy has been.
When we protest, we must make our concerns known, but not drown out elected officials (and their representatives) when they are trying to speak. Allahpundit offers this advice:
If all they’re going to do is scream, they belong outside. Disrupting the event itself when people are trying to listen is a jackass thing to do, and totally counterproductive in terms of handing the left material with which to tar the GOP.
Also, take heed to Jim Geraghty:
Hey, I hate the heckler’s veto, and want the folks yelling at Blue Dog Mike Ross to give him time to point out where he disagrees with Obama. Yes, it’s stupid to use Nazi imagery in protest signs, I’m glad that after eight years of “Bushitler” you guys have finally figured that out.
No matter how civil most protesters are, the Democrats and their alies in the media and on the web will attempt to smear us as angry, racist mob of astroturfers. It’s sad that they strive to dismiss the legitimacy of our concerns and define us by the most extreme advocates of our cause.
Let’s not stoop to their level. Let’s speak out, forcefully, angrily if need be, but always civilly. Many elected officials will respond in a petty and petulant manner as have such Senators as Barbara Boxer, such Congressmen as Nancy Castor and Russ Carnahan and the woman all Democrats elected as House Speaker. But, there are the Chris Murphys out there. And let us show them the respect he has shown our counterparts in Connecticut.