Below The Beltway

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Screaming At Your Opponents Isn’t A Form Of Political Debate

by @ 3:36 pm on August 7, 2009. Filed under Barack Obama, Health Care Reform, Politics

Continuing a theme I’ve written about before, James Joyner comments on the recent town hall incidents such as the ones in Tampa and St. Louis:

Let’s just say that this is no way for a civilized Republic to conduct its business. And there’s no small irony that the protestor in St. Louis is carrying a sign mocking the fact that Paul Krugman and others have dubbed these people an angry mob. What the hell else would you call them?

On the merits, I share my colleague Alex Knapp’s sense that “On the one hand, the system we have sucks and there’s really no defending it. On the other hand, most of the reform proposals also suck.” I come down on the side that the crappy status quo is better than the crappy alternatives and Alex sides with the crappy alternatives to the crappy status quo.

Regardless, however, we should be able to agree that shutting down public debate on the matter in the guise of “being heard” is not only unproductive but un-American.

Along the same lines, Rick Moran has some harsh but well-deserved words for the protesters we’re seeing at the town halls:

You bet your ass I blame people for shouting down and trying to intimidate their political opponents. We were given a brain at birth capable of reason and logic. We are not beasts who are unable to control our emotions. We were born in a country where only by civil debate and reasoned discourse have we been able to maintain our unity in the face of towering obstacles. Citizens coming from a hundred different backgrounds as well as representing every race, every creed, every ethnic group in the world do not naturally mix and form a society. We have to work at it. And that means governing our passions so that all may participate in the democratic process equally.

When we don’t – when we give in to these beastly impulses – we get 600,000 dead and one part of the country in ruins. Ultimately, the Civil War was as much about our failure to believe in the good intentions of our political opponents as it was about the union, or slavery. War is never “inevitable.” Losing faith in each other was what led to the explosion.

To give in to the desire to express anger while preventing others from making their views known demonstrates an adolescent level of emotional maturity.

Moreoever, as Rick points out, the latest Rasmussen poll shows a statistically significant up-tick in Obama’s “strongly approve” number over the past week; a possible indication that people who’ve been sitting on the fence are being turned off by the immaturity of Obama’s opponents.

This battle isn’t going to be won by lying to people about euthanasia or screaming at Congressmen. It’s going to be won be convincing the American people that freedom works. Get to it.

3 Responses to “Screaming At Your Opponents Isn’t A Form Of Political Debate”

  1. James Young says:

    Caricaturing them isn’t, either.

  2. It’s not necessary to caricature people who shout down their opponents and don’t bother to find out what facts actually are before talking about them.

    And, yes, the left does it too. Happy ?

  3. James Young says:

    Well that, of course, presumes that the people are (a) shouting down their opponents, and (b) don’t bother to find out what facts actually are before talking about them. In fact, the people doing the “shouting” know more about the facts than the proponents of ObamaCare.

    Even lending credit to your apparent presumption, Doug, your confidence in the credibility of the Obamorons is utterly amazing, in light of your self-styled “libertarian” credentials.

    And by the way, Rick is a moron. War is, indeed, sometimes inevitable. I, for one, reject the notion of the “good intentions” of the Left. It comes from an understanding of their premises, and what that portends for their intentions. That any self-styled “libertarian” could find “good intentions” in their unremitting drive for power and control over our lives is one of those rare occasions where I find myself surprised.

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