Saturday, August 22, 2009

A thought on protests

Something that's occurred to me recently, in thinking about the recent posturing by supporters of Obamacare--things like Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer calling protests against the plan(s) "Un-American," or the even more ridiculous spectacle of one Congressman calling another's opposition to the plan(s) "an act of treason"--is how similar all this is to what took place during the Bush administration.

We had the fierce protests--if anything, even more over-the-top than what we have now. We had the President's supporters firing back, accusing the protesters of all kinds of nefarious political motives...and yes, we had some supporters throwing around words like "Un-American" and "treason."

However, it seems to me that there is one very big difference.

The Bush policies that so enraged the left were matters of foreign policy. They were matters where, quite apart from the debate over how these matters should be conducted (or whether they should be conducted at all) the shrillness of public protests, once past a certain level, had the effect of undermining and sabotaging the United States on the global stage--in arenas where our soldiers were in harm's way.

The Obama policies that have sent the right over the edge, by contrast, are matters of domestic policy. There is no worry about undermining or sabotaging the United States here, because no matter how over-the-top the protests become, there is no foreign enemy to be aided and comforted by the lack of a unified front.

The Obamacare protests, far from "Un-American," are precisely what the framers of the First Amendment had in mind--citizens non-violently gathering to petition the government for a redress of grievances, in matters directly affecting them.

It is American democracy in its purest form.


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