This is one of those posts that has to be written and has to be said, though I know going in to it I’m going to get beaten up from all sides, though especially from a left particularly out to get me right now.
Nonetheless, this must be said.
The threats, potential acts of violence, and violence against those who voted for the health care legislation must be condemned. They are neither helpful to those seeking repeal nor the acts of a civilized society. I comfortably say I speak for all the front page posters here condemning the violence and threats. The people who think this country has descended into the darkness do in fact send us down a dark path themselves with these actions.
Here comes the controversial part that still must be said: I have heard the audio of some of the threats. I get worse stuff routinely. Rush Limbaugh gets worse stuff on a daily basis. Republican members of Congress have gotten similar and worse stuff. Thank God this wasn’t a free trade vote or a variety of left wing groups would have half the country in flames right now. I do believe the 24 hours of threats, many of which were pretty weak, has gotten more national coverage than the leftist anarchists in Texas who molotov cocktailed the Texas Governor’s Mansion — for which arrests have never been made.
I am forced to largely conclude that the Democrats are running to the nearest microphone in an effort to play the victim and generate sympathy as they try to steer poll numbers back in their direction. (See also Ann Althouse)
Some of it is very bad stuff. I don’t want to underplay the bad. Some of it, however, is not. And some of it is overplayed. Like the press reports about protestors yelling racial epithets at Congressman Lewis, which video shows and reporters I’ve talked to confirm, did not happen, a lot of this is going to be overblown, but the media loves a good story.
As one example of the over the top “violence on Democrats” stories went, people put a coffin near Russ Carnahan’s home as a threat. Turns out it was for a prayer vigil.
But there is something else here.
There are a great many Americans who truly believe the Democrats shredded the constitution on Sunday night. Made more galling, the Democrats were pretty upfront that they were pushing it through before congressmen could go home and face their angry constituents every poll showed were opposed to this legislation. And only after the vote did the media really start talking about the taxes, the flexible spending account cuts, the pre-existing conditions loophole for kids, etc. — i.e. the bad stuff in the bill.
I’ve said for weeks I was a bit fearful of what would happen as a result. I sincerely pray we are not on the cusp of some group of angry and now unhinged mob lashing out at congressmen for a vote in the Congress. But something seems to be brewing and I frankly don’t think the Democrats should at all be surprised. They were and they knew they were playing with fire to advance legislation many Americans see as the undoing of the American Experiment. Some of those Americans will now conclude that, like with the founders, if King George will not listen, King George must be fought.
Acts of violence against congressmen for behaving as congressmen are wholly inexcusable. We should be vigilant to police our own side because as we’re already seeing through a series of breathless and inaccurate reports, the press and Democrats are going to be quick to run most any story and the retraction will never be as significant as the initial report.
But let’s not act surprised. The only people surprised by the rage are the ones who refused to venture outside Washington to understand first hand what the voters were actually thinking before congressmen voted.
Frankly, after all the leadership threats and bullying against swing Democrats to vote for leadership, I think it is a bit ironic Democratic leaders are now decrying threats and bullying of swing state Democrats by their constituents who very clearly did not want them to vote as they did.