More Town Hall Violence: Will No One Condemn It?

In Virgina, a filled-to-capacity town hall meeting on health care, as widely reported, was marred by disruptions by the anti-abortion zealot Randall Terry and his small band of followers. Tuesday's meeting was convened by Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., and featured Howard Dean as a speaker.

Less well reported was the fisticuffs that took place outside the high school auditorium where the meeting took place. From the Washington Examiner:

Outside, a spillover crowd of protestors and counter-protesters shouted slogans at each other. A man in a Cato Institute T-shirt scuffled with a man wearing an Obama T-shirt, punched him in the face, and was shortly after kicked off the property by police officers.

Enough already. If congressional opponents of health-care reform are against the use of violence in their cause, then let them repudiate it, publicly. And note that disruptions like Terry's are just a subtler form a violence, a kind of bullying.

How 'bout a press conference, fellas, where you all stand shoulder to shoulder -- Grassley, Coburn, Ross and the rest -- where you condemn the violence, and all threats thereof, and issue a call to civility?

Never gonna happen, of course. This mess, this unleashed, misdirected rage, is working all too well for health-care reform opponents. So it falls to health-care reform advocates in Congress to call upon the opposition to take a stand.

That's right. Those in Congress who support health-care reform should come together and make a collective call to stem the violence and hatred that is permeating these town-hall meetings. Even more importantly, they need to call upon their anti-reform colleagues to condemn the violence and hatred themselves.

It's truth or dare time.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.