Saturday, August 08, 2009

The whys of shout-outing and outshouting

What’s with the unruly shout-outing at meetings with members of Congress? Why the uncivil mobs?

The cause is a convergence of confusion, fear, ignorance, surrogate politics, communication fragmentation and cynical, strategic disinformation.

No one, not even the members of Congress, can get their minds around this issue with all its moving parts. The result: Confusion, which well-financed interests groups are only too happy to nurture into fear.

Some of those interests are the same people who brought us Swiftboating, the partisan mob disruption of the 2000 Florida vote recount and now the “birther” distraction.

The nation's vulnerability to such forces wouldn’t be possible it the health reform issue hadn’t become a dense fog of legislation. Suggestible protesters see their worst fears in the miasma Advocates of change, who have joined the shouting, cling to their highest hopes with no idea of consequences.

No one, from the president down, has a clue where all of this is headed. That is scary — as are the mindless shoutfests with their references to violence.

Ten years ago, we might have had a media investigation of the forces at work. Someone might have followed the money trail — and there is a money trail. Someone might have dispassionately dissected the complex health-care issue. (I'm open to suggested links....)

Now, we are now paying a terrible civic and societal price for a shattered media. The result is that few read or listen to opposing views. Minds close and the mouths open. The models for discourse are celebrity blabbers — the Rush Limbaughs, Bill O’Reillys and Keith Olbermanns of media land.

My guess is that growing unemployment may also be at work. Some of the shouting rabble are no doubt paid provocateurs, I don’t like to cite race as a cause for opposition to the president, but in parts of the land, some may be fueled by latent racism.

In any case, right-wing Republicans are already treating the healthcare issue as a test vote on the entire Obama agenda. If you voted against Obama, it’s time to storm the White House. “Socialistic Obama-Care” is the rallying cry. (Quick now, define “Obama-Care” Pause....)

I don’t know what the cure is for our sick, expensive, inequitable, burdensome healthcare system. But I do know that I’m not going to find the answer at the politically charged forums being held this August, the cruelest of months in this trouble-plagued time.

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Anonymous said...


I have been working most of my professional life for health care reform. I was looking forward to a vigorous intelligent debate on the issue after Obama was elected. Instead, I have becomed sickened by the shouting.

I refuse to shout, but I'll be at townhall meetings keeping my place and continue writing weekly letters to congress.

The Rachel Maddow Show has been leading her broadcasts with a lengthy discussion on the insurance/pharma money trail leading to congress and the astroturf groups.

LeeLa Coleman

10:09 AM  

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