If, however, you are a member of Congress confronted with silly questions about whether you have read the bill, feel free to giggle. For tips on executing acceptable levels of cackling, take a cue from House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. "If every member pledged to not vote for it if they hadn't read it in its entirety, I think we would have very few votes," Hoyer told CNSNews.com while choking back laughter after a recent news conference. "I'm laughing because a) I don't know how long this bill is going to be, but it's going to be a very long bill." Tee-hee-hee.
-- No Nazi comparisons. References to fascism are ugly and un-American. Swastikas have no place in debates about nationalizing 20 percent of the economy. Swastikas may, however, still be used as substitutes for the "S" in "BusHitler" and tattoos on the forehead of Darth Cheney.
-- No boorish questions. "Real vigorous conversation" requires town hall attendees to formulate queries that will encourage true debate. This is not the time to ask why Congress won't subject itself to the health mandates it wants to foist on every other American. This is not the time to ask how the White House will pay for the massive Obamacare bureaucracy without raising taxes on the middle class. The White House endorsed model citizen questioning at its East Room health care town halls in March and July, including this:
"Hi, Mr. President. I'm a member of SEIU, and I'm down here in Fairfax County working on Change That Works. What can I do, as a member of the union, to help you with your reform bill?"
-- No mean signs. That 11-year-old daughter of a Massachusetts Obama donor and campaigner who was randomly chosen to criticize the scary posters held up by town hall protesters in New Hampshire was right. "Mean" signs are, well, mean. Never mind the placards that blared "Bush is the only dope worth shooting" in Nancy Pelosi's San Francisco and the assassination art depicting former President Bush with a gun to his head in Chicago. "Obama is a socialist" is a sign too far and cannot be tolerated in a civil society. Period.
Instead, print out the "STAND UP FOR HEALTH REFORM" signs helpfully produced by Obama's Organizing for America, and burn your "Don't Tread on Me" flags. Such rebellious sentiments are dangerous incitements to violence.
To those of you who can't abide by The Rules: Shhhhhhhhh.