Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The American Way: Debate Not Hate

The right to freedom of speech and the right to bear arms are outlined in the U. S. Constitution. Discussing and debating issues is an American tradition solidly based in our right to free speech. I'd guess that the uproar that we are witnessing in the recent townhall meetings on healthcare is not just a reflection of citizens concerned about healthcare. These are people who hate President Obama and they are dangerous. They simply can not deal with having a black president and they will take every opportunity to fight anything he proposes.

President Obama has been in office for 7 months and as far as the extreme right is concerned, he can not do anything right. I wonder where this vocal concerned group was hiding for the past 8 years? Where was the outcry when President Bush took us to war, garnering public support with midleading documents and untruths? We have lost over 4,000 lives in Iraq over the false information the Bush Administration provided. Where was this group then?They were probably still looking for the weapons of mass destruction. None of President Obama’s policies have killed anyone. Debate is fair, but this is not debate. This is plain and simple hate. We've seen, time and time again, that this kind of blinding hate leads to violent action.

The Baltimore Sun reported the following:
“ The Secret Service is investigating a man who authorities said held a sign reading “Death to Obama” outside Wednesday’s town hall meeting on health care reform in Western Maryland. The sign also read, “Death to Michelle and her two stupid kids,” referring to the first name of President Barack Obama’s wife, said Washington County sheriff’s Capt. Peter Lazich.”* Threats to the president are not taken lightly. This took place at a townhall meeting in Hagerstown, MD conducted by Senator Ben Cardin. The signholder was arrested after several people who were attending the rally alerted the authorities. You can call the president a lot of names and hide under the banner of free speech, but when you start making verbal or written threats that is not free speech—that’s a crime.

Huffington Post reported the following:
A man was spotted Monday afternoon carrying a semi-automatic assault rifle and a pistol at a pro-health care reform rally next to the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Arizona where President Obama was speaking.

The local paper The Arizona Republic reported:

A man, who decided not to give his name, was walking around the pro-health care reform rally at 3rd and Washington streets, with a pistol on his hip, and an AR-15 (a semi-automatic assault rifle) on a strap over his shoulder.

"Because I can do it," he said when asked why he was armed. "In Arizona, I still have some freedoms."

Two police officers were staying very close to the man.

It should be noted that CNN has video from the scene, and according to their reporter at the event, Ed Henry, there was another man, also carrying an assault rifle at the event. The Associated Press is now reporting that there were actually about a dozen armed people among the protesters in Phoenix.

These are just some of the reports about someone bringing a gun to an event where the President was speaking. Last Tuesday a man was arrested before Obama's New Hampshire health care town hall for carrying an unlicensed loaded gun. Also outside the New Hampshire town hall, a man was seen with a (legal) handgun strapped to his leg, holding a sign referencing the famous Jefferson quote: "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants."

I guess these actions don't disturb Obama supporters. I'm not hearing any pushback at all. Seems like folks are just throwing their hands up as if there's nothing to be done about all of this. That's not how President Obama got elected. We didn't throw our hands up and walk away. Now is the time for action. Stop standing on the sidelines watching the parade go by. Get involved!

Debate-not Hate. That's the American Way. Well, at least I thought we wanted to go in a new direction when President Obama was elected. Now I wonder.

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