In the meantime, as members of Congress spend time at home during August, they are talking with their constituents about reform. The dialogue between elected representatives and constituents is at the heart of our democracy and plays an integral role in assuring that the legislation we write reflects the genuine needs and concerns of the people we represent.
However, it is now evident that an ugly campaign is underway not merely to misrepresent the health insurance reform legislation, but to disrupt public meetings and prevent members of Congress and constituents from conducting a civil dialogue. These tactics have included hanging in effigy one Democratic member of Congress in Maryland and protesters holding a sign displaying a tombstone with the name of another congressman in Texas, where protesters also shouted "Just say no!" drowning out those who wanted to hold a substantive discussion.
Let the facts be heard
These disruptions are occurring because opponents are afraid not just of differing views — but of the facts themselves. Drowning out opposing views is simply un-American. Drowning out the facts is how we failed at this task for decades.
Ironically enough, there's another story brewing in which Speaker Pelosi is trying to approve 8 new jets for her and her colleagues.
Bipartisan opposition is emerging in the Senate to a plan by House lawmakers to spend $550 million for additional passenger jets for senior government officials.
The resistance to buying eight Gulfstream and Boeing planes comes as members of both chambers of Congress embark on the busiest month of the year for official overseas travel. The plan to upgrade the fleet of government jets, which was included in a broader defense-funding bill, has also sparked criticism from the Pentagon, which has said it doesn't need half of the new jets.
Now, let's think about this. Speaker Pelosi is unhappy with the current set of gulfstream jets for her and her colleagues. So, she wants to spend $500 million of other people's money. At the same time, as they try and overhaul one sixth of our economy, they call anyone that assembles at a town hall debate (a hallmark of a vibrant democracy), and protests loudly, as "un American".
The most corrosive effect of spending too much time in D.C. is that you lose touch with the folks that elected you. You become an elitist and an insider. It's the label, ironically enough, that the Democrats placed on the Republicans in both 2006-2008.
There's no more clear example of two legislators that have lost touch with the voters than two legislators that, on the one hand, want to upgrade to $500 million worth of gulfstream jets, and, on the other hand, claim that any boisterous dissent at a TOWN HALL meeting is "un American". Here are two folks that do a very good job of spending other people's money. Then, apparently, they can't believe that anyone would object to the way their spending and so they call those objecting "un American". Much more than the protesters being un American, these two simply don't understand their fears and concerns. Hoyer and Pelosi simply can't believe anyone could possibly object to their take over of health care, and so any one objecting, in their view, must have devious intentions. It should be clear to everyone that both have spent far too much time in D.C. and they've just lost touch.
Well, let's just say both have really stepped into it. The war between the Tea Parties, represented by the town hall protesters, and the Democrats is a story that has lots of branches so to speak. One branch is the cultural aspect. Here we have the elites, represented by Pelosi, Hoyer, and Democrats on one side, and the populists, represented by the protesters, on the other side.
The irony of the protestation of the Democrats of the protestors themselves is that town hall meetings were usually attended by a few dozen people. They never made any news. Now, it's all anyone can talk about and the excitement they've created has caused a national debate on all sorts of things. Isn't that the point of such events? If I didn't know any better, I'd think the Democrats, while bemoaning a lack of debate, are really hoping to do everything but debate the merits of this health care bill. Finally, it isn't always the attendees that yell and scream. Here's a Congressman from Georgia screaming down a doctor that asked a question at a recent town hall debate.