Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Civil Discourse

I went to the OFA press conference in support of healthcare reform outside Mary Landrieu's office earlier today.

We were rudely received by a phalanx of tea-baggers from the 'Baton Rouge Tea Party,' who I guess represent Mary Landrieu's base now (and I'm only sort of kidding).

I have got to say, these people are out of their effing minds.

Even liberal-ole-me will concede that there are some occasionally reasonable conservatives out in the world (sometimes they'll leave comments on this blog) but the folks that came out to protest this press conference were for the most part, well, crazy.

There's nothing quite like having a middle-aged woman scream in your face that you're a socialist communist at ten in the morning.

"You guys don't care about freedom."

"Barack Obama is taking our way of life."

They shouted over speeches by OFA's Steven Walker and Rep. Karen Carter Peterson, which I guess is fair game.

But when they continued heckling a volunteer speaker who offered a personal story of breast cancer survival and the difficulty of obtaining insurance as a carrier of Crohn's disease, well, I was disgusted.

Then, of course, there was the middle-aged white woman who deemed it appropriate to inform a couple of African American volunteers from SEIU that they were "lucky to be here."

But my favorite teabagger comment came from a woman standing right behind me who said:

"My brother pays $1,000 a month for health insurance and he doesn't complain."

I've been chuckling at that one all day long.

I have to also admit that I was a little bit humbled by the conduct of the progressive press conference attendees who exhibited near excessive patience with some of the protesters, sticking around to answer their questions and to try to engage them in a reasonable discourse.

I certainly will not talk to anyone that screams in my face that I'm a communist socialist or a freedom-hater or whatever because I want universal healthcare.

One older African American woman was walking away from a heated discussion with one of these people and smiled at me.

"How can you not forgive them? They're crazy."

I laughed. That's probably the right attitude.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for returning the thoughtful E, we all know and love - at least I do, and that's only if I'm included in the responsible conservative remark. ;)

I think you experienced our wackos as I felt the last post you made regarding morality was how I felt about you. Granted, you weren't screaming it my face. However, my esteemed brother in law who is a college law professor likes to spew the talking points filth of how the Republicans and conservatives don't understand how their actions are evil the way we vote.

So I might have taken a bit more out on you than you deserved but it's those of us in the middle that need to communicate, because as she said - they're crazy. He's too used to people soaking up his BS standing in front of an audience and being all powerful to even enter a debate any longer.

There's still hope for us E, thank you for being fair and if I wanted to hang out with those idiots I could go back home in the deep rural area I grew up in the Midwest. Heck, my family was considered Dems because we didn't attend church - whole other story, sorry I'm rambling.

I think if everyone used a little more of the muscle there not used to, this health care bill could turn out ok. If the Dems use a bit more brain and less heart while the conservatives use a bit more heart and less brain - we could get there together.


Anonymous said...

It all comes down to people being nice to one another. In a world where conflict is overwhelming, money for legitimate insurance claims is being withheld, world chaos (i.e., hurricanes, overflooding trash, people walking their dogs and not picking up after them, teenagers out too late, etc.)....what's left in the world? BEING NICE TO ONE ANOTHER.


Anonymous said...

"I certainly will not talk to anyone that screams in my face that I'm a communist socialist or a freedom-hater or whatever because I want universal healthcare."

You realize that you can hardly ever change anyone's mind. I mean ever. That's why you have to get to 'em when they're young! Or, more importantly, just accept that democracy is an imperfect system because it gives everyone the right to their opinion, even it's the most f-ing stupid opinion you've ever heard in your life. And if they're in the majority, stupid decisions will be made (in your opinion). And the most depressing part is that for the most part, people who are passionate about the issues are being manipulated by people far smarter. But, "Never ascribe to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity."

I agree with Shirley. There's only kindness. Individual-level, personal-level kindness, and teaching your children to be kind. It can happen in a second and you have control over it. Change at the level of government just takes a long long time.