I’ve read two reports now of anti-health care reform protesters at Senator Mark Begich’s health care press conference heckling and shouting down a lung cancer patient on oxygen tanks who was attempting to testify. The first report came via a tweet from Celtic Diva, who wrote,
Per Blogger Jeanette: At hc presser — man on oxygen couldn’t testify — shouted down by teabaggers. [Ref #1]
A little later, AKMuckracker at The Mudflats wrote a full-fledged blog post, reporting also on how hecklers shouted down other Alaska citizens attempting to testify about their problems with the health care system:
I knew there would be protesters carrying signs at this event, but when the press conference began, and four brave Alaskans…regular citizens….stood up to tell their harrowing stories of health care challenges, I never believed anyone would heckle them. I really didn’t. But as I stood there and watched, that’s exactly what they did. They shouted at a mom of a young child with special needs. They asked her how much she got paid by the AFL-CIO. They shouted at a man with lung cancer, breathing with assistance, telling him he wasn’t an American. They shouted at a small business owner telling him that he was in cahoots with “Obama’s Dirty Nuts” – ACORN. [Ref #2]
I regret to say I’m not that surprised. Not after reading a number of stories over the weekend about similar heckling crowds disrupting health insurance reform town halls around the country.
It’s becoming ever clearer that those in opposition to reform could care less about civil discourse or democracy. They believe in government by mob.
I wasn’t surprised either to learn that rightwing talk radio host and self-described racist homophobe Eddie Burke was amongst them, egging them on. Nor was I surprised to learn Sarah Palin was nowhere in evidence: her mob-incitement was done last week from a safe, Facebook distance. You remember: Sarah “Hands Off My Kids — Don’t Make Stuff Up” Palin using her son Trig as Exhibit A to illustrate her most recent attempt at making stuff up — but then, one hardly needed her, since Eddie “Sarah’s Lapdog” Burke could reliably be counted on to repeat the lie for her, as AKMuckracker also resports:
Eddie Burke managed to show up, and get on camera. He repeated Sarah Palin’s lies about a “Death Panel.” He did it because it sounded good and because it will inflame his “posse” as he called them. He didn’t say it because it was true. He didn’t say it because he wants dialog. Alaskans who use fear, and anger to intimidate those seeking discussion and reform harm us all. [Ref #2]
Exactly. Because ultimately, Eddie Burke and his “posse,” along with all the other birthers, deathers, and teabaggers, don’t believe in democracy. They believe in mobocracy.
AKMuckraker said it well:
They shame their party, and their state. [Ref #2]
Thanks to AKMuckraker, CelticDiva, Jeanette, and other bloggers who continue to report on the deather/teabagger actions, as well as the special Alaska legislative session — still going on as I write — involving the bipartisan effort to override of Palin’s irresponsible veto of stimulus funds for energy efficiency. I’ll look forward to reading their full reports later tonight.
I’m also happy to see Anchorage Daily News reporter Sean Cockerham on-scene — one of the best of ADN’s remaining reporters. He’s also posted, on the ADN’s Alaska Politics blog, on the protests outside the special legislative session and Sen. Begich’s health care reform presser (though making no mention of the hecklers, which perhaps he didn’t witness). [Ref #3]
- 8/10/09. “At hc presser…” by Linda Kellen Biegel (@celticdiva) [Twitter feed].
- 8/10/09. “Alaska ‘Deathers’ Heckle Sick People” by AKMuckracker (The Mudflats).
- 8/10/09. “Protesters greet lawmakers, then head to Begich health-care speech” by Sean Cockerham (Alaska Politics blog at adn.com).