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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 4/27/11

What's Behind the Heckling at the Recent Congressional Town Hall Meetings?

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The headline read, "House G.O.P. Members Face Voter Anger Over Budget," [1] with what seemed to be the clear implication that recent Republican budget plans were meeting resistance out on the political hustings (with the Congress in recess these past two weeks Republican House members in particular have held town hall meetings to sell the public on their budget plans).

Now the first reaction from this reader was maybe there is real life out there in America's body politic where people "naturally" get irate over Republican plans to dismantle Medicare, give tax cuts to the rich and the corporate behemoths (G.E. and the like) which not only pay no taxes but receive a $3 billion refund. Initially I thought there's nothing like a little self interest that raises people's hackles more while causing them to outwardly protest when something dear to them comes under attack.

But alas, as I read further the "reality" of the peoples ire (at those town hall meetings) was something else entirely.

It turns out the "ire" expressed by people (heckling and shouting) were apparently pre-meditated attacks orchestrated by leftist political "PACS" i.e., the DCCC [Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee) which betrayed the "ire" as a manufactured political stunt rather than peoples' own visceral reaction to bad political policy that would be harmful to them.

The question begs, if these people's "protests" were pre-planned orchestrations engineered by leftist political PACS with no actual visceral spontaneity to them, then the outward "resistance and opposition" of the "people" at these latest town hall meetings were just contrived bleatings no different than those   who shouted and harangued at town hall meetings during the early days of the health care debate which we found were planned and stage managed by right wing PACS underwritten by the likes of Karl Rove and the Koch Bros.           

So is it "purist" thinking that says only spontaneous, grass roots resistance to oppression is the real deal while pre- planned and pre-determined vocal protest is just a masquerade only resembling something honest and true? That may be, but if Democrats believe that following the essential Republican "playbook" i.e. orchestrating pre-planned vocal resistance (cat calls and heckling) of law makers at town hall meetings helps clarify the issues for the larger public while painting the other side as evil perpetrators is the way to go then our entire political process is just "vaudeville" with no "real" political debate on the issues.

What we have been witnessing in the Arab world these past five months HAS been visceral, spontaneous, grass roots rebellion and protests against oppressive rule. There was nothing manufactured, pre-meditated or drawn up in political back rooms that could be interpreted as anything but an honest peoples protest. The same could be said of the people of Wisconsin who protested against an arrogant governor and legislature that would deny collective bargaining for teachers, firefighters and public service union members.

Contrast those visceral outpourings with the politically contrived town hall meetings orchestrated previously by the right and now the left.            

There can be no comparison between the people and the protests for the difference is one of honesty and integrity (the Arab world and Wisconsin) while the other is pure deceit and manipulation (town hall meetings).

[1] "House G.O.P. Members Face Voter Anger Over Budget", by Jennifer Steinhauer and Carl Hulse, "The New York Times", April 26, 2011.

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