Americans have a right to show up, and speak up, in public meetings with their elected representatives. That civic principle applies to the anti-Trump "resistance" just as much as it applied to the Tea Party. Americans also have a right to judge their fellow citizens' comportment and approach to influencing the political process. The Left is organizing to swarm forums held by Republican members of Congress, several of whom have demonstrated constructive methods of dealing with unruly and hostile crowds. The resulting confrontations are churning out made-for-television moments for which the media has a bottomless appetite -- especially since these aggrieved citizens are on the "good" side of things, unlike the unseemly hoards in 2009 and 2010. But here's what the sanitized and curated evening news soundbytes aren't likely to show: In Louisiana on Wednesday, Sen. Bill Cassidy hosted a town hall meeting to discuss various policies, including Obamacare. The organized Left showed up in full throat, behaving boorishly before the Senator even took to the podium. They shouted and heckled throughout a pastor's opening prayer, then many refused to stand or even maintain any semblance of decorum during the pledge of allegiance, which was led by a local veteran. Deplorable:
The rude, furious screeching of "separation of church and state!" betrays an embarrassing ignorance of American history. Our founding document guards against the intertwining of religion and governance by prohibiting the establishment of a national religion, but the notion that a public prayer prior to a gathering like this somehow violates the constitution is ludicrous. In fact, the legislative body in which Sen. Cassidy serves opens each daily session with a prayer from its appointed in-house chaplain. But the angriest shouters weren't interested in facts or perspective, as their frenzied tantrums then carried on through the pledge of allegiance. One of their grievance themes is that Cassidy is a mean-spirited demon who wants to rip healthcare away from innocent children. This is deeply ironic, given Cassidy's unique background as a medical doctor:
Cassidy -- a doctor who had yet to enter public life -- set up a makeshift hospital in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Three days after the storm hit, Cassidy organized hundreds of volunteers to help turn an abandoned Baton Rouge K-Mart into a temporary medical center. He was concerned South Louisiana's hospitals weren't going to have enough capacity to treat all of the victims of the disaster...He's a doctor that has spent his entire career caring for people who have little or no insurance. The congressman worked at Earl K. Long Medical Center -- a hospital for the poor or people who couldn't otherwise afford their care -- from 1990 until the facility closed in 2013. Even now, Cassidy, a gastroenterologist and LSU Medical School faculty member, primarily treats low-income and uninsured patients when he practices medicine.
Cassidy has also offered a specific Obamacare replacement plan, which some conservatives have criticized as being too similar to the original failing law. Alas, it would appear that many of the protesters either didn't know or didn't care about the actual record of the man they showed up to berate. In their display of tribalistic catharsis, they disrespected a revered and a veteran, then shouted down their Senator repeatedly. His appeals to civility, reason and productive exchanges fell on deaf ears:
Cassidy was constantly shouted down as he tried to explain his plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Several people stood up and turned their backs on him. Protesters could be heard marching in the parking lot outside. "If all you want to do is vent, this will not be profitable," Cassidy said. "But if we can get through this we will start answering questions." Cassidy never made it through that presentation.
The self-evident truth is the many of these people weren't interested in dialogue or solutions. They were interested in emoting and raging. An ugly scene. I'll leave you with Hugh Hewitt's call for conservatives to seek out these town hall events to balance out the crowds and represent the millions of people who have been directly hurt by Obamacare:
Very important that conservatives and independents attend the townhalls targeted by Michael Moore and his allies https://t.co/TnfsWjcDI9— Hugh Hewitt (@hughhewitt) February 22, 2017