Jon Sanders

I have just gotten off the Patients First bus after touring North Carolina with Americans for Prosperity and speaking out against Pres. Obama's healthcare legislation. I spoke to thousands upon thousands of my fellow North Carolinians in small towns and big cities, and in between stops, watched the news and heard what the president, the Democrat leaders in Congress and their mouthpieces in the media said about us.

I make them this challenge: Go to the rallies and say that. You really think attendees were bused in by Big Insurance? Watch them arrive. Watch senior citizens be helped out of their vehicles and into their walkers to stand in the hot sun. Dare you call them angry mobsters? See the veterans who served in Europe, Japan, Korea and Vietnam walk in on uncertain knees to take yet another stand against statism. Look them in the eyes and call them Nazis, if you can.

Culture of Corruption by Michelle Malkin FREE

Go to the rallies and say that. If nothing else, good heavens, if you can't publicly change your position and back down from your smears, then at least you can test your sense of shame and your capacity to lie.

Go to the rallies. Show you have more courage than nearly every other congressman, senator, staff member and president in D.C. At every rally I went to, without fail, all fifteen of them across the eastern half of North Carolina, the same thing happened. AFP president Dallas Woodhouse would urge the audience to call their congressmen and Sen. Kay Hagan, and from one end of the crowd to the other we'd hear the frustrated pleas, "We've tried but they're not answering!"

Oh, but the bus and the rallies were supposedly paid for by Big Insurance. You see, in the twisted world of political spincraft, if it can be said, it can be believed. But here's what they want you to believe. Big Evil Corporate Entities tricked a bunch of us freedom-minded people to leave our families for several days to drive hundreds of miles across the state in a bus getting sunburned and hoarse, and then they bused in thousands upon thousands of the unlikeliest Nazi thug mobsters ever assembled to attend our rallies and sign our petitions. That's what they have to say so their elected representatives can justify ignoring them.

Well, don't you believe it.

If this had been some slick, orchestrated, fake-o campaign, we'd have been in nice, air-conditioned, comfy-seated convention halls. We wouldn't have been dripping sweat standing in the parking lots of Harley Davidson (New Bern) or Capt. Bill's (Morehead City) or Chick-Fil-A (Wilmington) or Bill Ellis Barbecue (Wilson) or Brigg's Hardware (Raleigh) or Piggly-Wiggly (Sanford, moved to the K-Mart lot because the crowd was too big) or something called The Climbing Place (Fayetteville).

No, we weren't at those places to put up a front for big industry. We were there because private business owners wanted us there to speak in their communities because they cared so much about the issue. You remember the issue, don't you? You know, the issue that the Democrats with their "message managers" and media campaign wish to distract people away from: their attempt to take over the nation's healthcare system.

We were there also because private individuals cared so much as to send the money to get us there. And we were greeted by hundreds upon hundreds of people at each stop. They were there because they care so much about keeping this nation's healthcare system free from becoming a state-run nightmare that views individuals not as patients to be cured, but as costs to be cut.

They were there not because they think everything's fine with health care, but because they think Obama's proposed cure is far worse than the disease. They want to preserve the best healthcare system on the planet from being destroyed just because there are problems with paying for it. They want to keep the system free from a government takeover so that different solutions can be found, many different choices and innovations may be offered, and different political ideas can arise, ones that rely on government allowing more freedom and removing obstacles rather than the other way around. That's how Americans have historically overcome problems.

And here is another thing that happened at every rally. People came up to us trying to hand us five-, ten-, twenty-dollar bills just to help. They were so thankful we were there speaking to them, encouraging them and showing them how they could speak up for themselves. Their own elected representatives, remember, have been avoiding them. We had been turning those gifts down because the bus tour wasn't about fundraising. But after a while we realized that we should start allowing it.

What a picture — while the powerful and cowardly in Washington were busy running from them and slandering them as bought-and-paid-for angry thugs, they were gracious and smiling and individually volunteering to give. I'm talking about little old ladies and proud veterans and people in wheelchairs with oxygen masks and mothers and fathers and Sunday school teachers and bikers and surfers and God knows who all else. Any Democrat who truly cared about diversity would eat his Sunday New York Times out of sheer jealousy.

That's why I say go to the rallies. For me, it was an honor. After speaking in Jacksonville in the parking lot of the Marina Cafe, we were eating our lunch there (mine was a yummy fried soft-shell crab sandwich), and a woman came in, handed event coordinator Chad Adams forty dollars and squeezed his hand. She had left the rally, went to an ATM, and came back. We were amazed. Humbled.

So I say go to the rallies. Go for her and for the many, many people like her. They have kept this country great. They have sustained her through some of her greatest challenges. How dare anyone in this government of, by and for the people put her in danger of being flagged a "waste" on some bureaucrat's spreadsheet. How dare they lie about her and her concerns. I don't think you could if you saw what I saw at the rallies.

Do right by her. Do right by them. Address their concerns, junk the bill, and stop the character assassination of upstanding Americans.

Go to the rallies and tell the truth.


Jon Sanders

Jon Sanders is associate director of research at the John Locke Foundation in Raleigh, N.C.