Thursday, August 13, 2009

Joan Baez, Idaho Falls, and Protestors

I haven't written about the raucous town halls. I read about them, as is my civic duty (I think - I guess), but they are too depressing for my written word. How can people feel justified in shouting down the debate? I don't have a problem with people who shout their questions when it's their turn to ask a question. Neither do I have a problem with people protesting outside. They should do it in droves, if they want. But shouting down answers? Shouting down other questioners? My biggest worry is all the people who simply aren't coming to any town halls because of predictions of mob behavior. Which means they aren't getting their questions answered. Which, I guess they wouldn't get them answered anyway, given the way the town halls have gone. Sigh.

And of course the other part that's upsetting is all the misinformation out there. Here's a link to a new website started by the White House to confront and resolve the lies. Oh, and here's a link to a three-minute video debunking the now-floating-out-there claim that Obama really intends to eliminate private health care insurance. (Apparently someone has cobbled together various statements he has made to leave that impression when the statements themselves have been all taken out of context.)

And then to have Republican congresspeople validate these lies - not just talking heads and radio jocks, but actual congresspeople... Chuck Grassley, of all people...

Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski deserves credit for toning down the rhetoric yesterday, and confirming that there are no death panels. In her words: "It does us no good to incite fear in people by saying that there's these end-of-life provisions, these death panels." Not that she likes the bill, mind you. Just that she doesn't want lies to be spread. I've called her office to let her know it was appreciated. (My own congresswoman, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, also deserves a thumbs-up, as she apparently stated yesterday that there are no death panels in the bill.)

Okay - with all that said - here is a very touching description, with photos, of what went down yesterday at a Joan Baez concert in Idaho Falls. Four Vietnam vets came to protest her concert. Before the concert started, she came out and talked to them, told them their misunderstandings. And she listened. Her merchandise salesman, a Vietnam vet himself, came out and talked to the protesters too, vouching for Joan Baez. They left with signed protest posters - mostly on the back, though, as she didn't want to sign on the front when such awful things were being said about her.

When she got back in the building, she cried - not for the things that were said, but because her merchandise salesman had stuck up for her like that. "Did you hear his voice shaking?" she said. "That was bravery..."

Let freedom ring.

1 comment:

ThomG said...

You couldn't have a more starkly, vivid contrast between two ways to approach a controversial subject than the one that is displayed by the behavior of Chuck Grassley and Joan Baez.