Friday, August 14, 2009

Alienating the True Dissenters

I have legitimate concerns about the current version of the Health Insurance reform package. I am not sold on a public option, I have reservations on current funding mechanisms, and I am not convinced that mandatory coverage will resolve the emergency room backlogs.

I was hoping to watch some of the Town Halls and observe the sincerity of our congress members. But we are being denied that. Legitimate dissent, and the need for open dialogue is being denied. Faux outrage and organized shout downs are preventing those who truly want answers from obtaining them.

Leaked memos (PDF)show the true intention of these immature individuals:
* Artificially Inflate Your Numbers: "Spread out in the hall and try to be in the front half. The objective is to put the Rep on the defensive with your questions and follow-up. The Rep should be made to feel that a majority, and if not, a significant portion of at least the audience, opposes the socialist agenda of Washington."

* Be Disruptive Early And Often: "You need to rock-the-boat early in the Rep's presentation, Watch for an opportunity to yell out and challenge the Rep's statements early."

* Try To "Rattle Him," Not Have An Intelligent Debate: "The goal is to rattle him, get him off his prepared script and agenda. If he says something outrageous, stand up and shout out and sit right back down. Look for these opportunities before he even takes questions."
Artificially inflate numbers, Be Disruptive, Rattle Him; is this really how we have civil debate in this country.

The administration is making a sincere effort to legitimately engage the populous. These are NOT controlled environments with hand picked participants and staff at the door monitoring special guest lists like the prior administration. These are open door public opportunities that are being hi-Jacked by a roving group of disruptors.

Yes, there is legitimate concern, outrage, and emotion out there. But what we are seeing in Town Halls over the country are organized tactics consistent with the memos and messages being pushed by a select few. They are diluting the voice of those of us who have legitimate questions and concerns. We want to work towards compromise as we all agree something needs to be done. But there are those who just want the spotlight, the headlines, and the attention.

They'll get it all right, but at the cost of credibility which will stifle their voice in the end. Soon the proponents of reform will move on while showing they made a concerted effort to include everyone in the debate. But without true counter proposals being offered, and compromise on the table, they will simply approve the bill as is. THAT, should concern everyone. Unfortunately, the opposition is to short sighted to see that.

Sad, really!


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