My family’s seen it up close too much with assassinations and violence in political life. It’s a terrible thing when people think that in order to get their point across they have to go to the edge of violent rhetoric and attack people personally,” Kennedy told the nurses, union officials and AARP members finishing their breakfasts at the invitation-only event in the Providence Marriott hotel. “It’s fine for people to debate the issue and attack the issue, but when they go and stoop to the level of the vitriolic rhetoric that we’ve seen this debate turn up, it’s very, I think, dangerous to the fabric of our country.
I will note that there were a number of prominent security people in this country who spoke very openly this past week that … that there are consequences in terms of trying to protect public officials. There are consequences to violent rhetoric,. Some people can see through TV ratings and right-wing talk show hosts that just try to create some theater, but unfortunately, there are some that can’t see through it. And that’s the danger in it. There is definitely freedom of speech, but freedom of speech does not allow yelling ‘fire’ in the middle of a crowded movie theater
It’s very, very dangerous. We put a lot of people in jail around the world for threatening our country’s security. But this atmosphere of attack that doesn’t attack the issue, but attacks the people, is very disruptive to the institution of democracy,
which relies on a respect for the opposition.
George Wallace didn’t need a gun to pull a trigger. We just need to be mindful of the wisdom of people … who have been through these ugly periods in American history. Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
Now, try to put this into perspective. He compares the anger of health care protesters to the people that killed his two uncles, Jack and Bobby Kennedy. He compares the things said by tea party protesters to the things said by George Wallace. He even compares protesters to those that threaten the safety of our nation through terrorism. He even compares protesting at town halls to yelling fire at a crowded theater. He goes on to suggest that these protests can lead to violence which will threaten our public officials.
Like most that are now shocked by the angry language, Patrick Kennedy was strangely silent when for eight years many, including his own uncle Ted Kennedy, called President Bush all sorts of nasty things like a liar. This is yet another attempt by yet another Obama supporter to intimidate those opposed to President Obama and his agenda into silence. By comparing the protesters to everything from a terrorist, George Wallace, and two assassins, Kennedy is attempting to marginalize.
He isn't the first to do this. Nancy Pelosi, among many, has remarked about the confrontational language and how it reminds her of language that lead to violence. Jimmy Carter was among many that suggested that those that opposed Obama are racists. This quote however is by far the most obscene. Kennedy suggests that protesters are all those things: racists, violent, murderers, and even terrorists. Yelling at a town hall debate is now the same as yelling fire in a crowded theater. Perfectly legitimate speech is now equated to speech designed to kill. (yelling fire in a crowded theater that is) Furthermore, Kennedy takes moral authority by invoking his two dead uncles. Talk about shameful. This reaches a new level.