You’re sitting at your computer, checking out your favorite sites, surfing around on worldnetdaily.com and freerepublic.com, reading Rush’s latest, then Ann Coulter’s. You’re sipping coffee and wondering what you can do to stop those damn liberals and progressives from destroying America.
An email comes in – a three-page memo, and it announces that there’s a town hall meeting tonight in the city where you live. One of many planned to offer citizens a little Q&A on proposed healthcare reform.
Scrolling down though the instructions, you find a section labeled “Inside the Hall.”
“You need to rock-the-boat early in the rep's presentation,” the memo instructs. “Watch for an opportunity to yell out and challenge the rep's statements early.
“If he blames Bush for something or offers other excuses - call him on it, yell back and have someone else follow-up with a shout-out. The goal is to rattle him.
“When the formal Q&A session begins, get all your hands up and keep them up. ... The balance of the group should applaud when the question is asked, further putting the rep on the defensive.”
Now, you’re fired up. You call a buddy to let him know you won’t make the bowling team tonight. Pulling on your Converses and a clean T-shirt, you head downtown.
Grabbing a gyro from a street vendor, you walk toward the meeting hall. Outside you wait in line behind a man and his wife. The man is in a wheelchair. Listening to the conversation, you learn he’s a diabetic, an amputee. He’s a poor-mouther, telling another man how he lost his job before he became so ill, how he lost his insurance and can’t afford a prosthesis.
Finally, you’re inside the meeting hall, ready to rumble, ready to create a little kick-ass havoc.
Pretty good night, you tell yourself as you arrive back at your apartment. All those poor-mouthers didn’t have a chance.
“Man, I love this country!” you say out loud, grabbing a beer and flipping channels until you find the wrestling match. Some guy is interviewing Outback Jack.
“Yeah,” you tell yourself, “that was some smackdown tonight.”
Across town, the protest organizers are reporting in to the national lobbying group which pays them.
The wife of the diabetic kisses her husband good-night, then begins work at her sewing machine, doing alterations which bring in extra cash beyond her 8-to-5 job.
Fade to black.
The “Inside the Hall” instructions above are in a three-page memo from a group calling itself Right Principles (READ ABOUT THIS GROUP). Obtained by the Think Progress Web site, the memo “was written by a man named Bob MacGuffie. Bob MacGuffie is associated with an organization called FreedomWorks (READ ABOUT THIS GROUP). FreedomWorks is a Washington, D.C., lobbying firm, run by former Republican Majority Leader Dick Armey.
Yes, that Dick Armey.
“Armey's FreedomWorks is organizing against healthcare reform. Armey's lobbying firm represents pharmaceutical companies including Bristol-Myers Squibb. Armey's lobbying firm also represents the trade group for the life insurance industry. FreedomWorks is supporting the status quo at all costs. They are also fans of fossil fuels. Armey's lobbying firm represents Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister of the UAE (BJ NOTE: United Arab Emirates), on energy- related issues.
“Last year, the Wall Street Journal exposed FreedomWorks for building ‘amateur-looking’ Web sites to promote far-right interests of Armey.” (SOURCE: alternet.org, 7 August 2009: LINK)
‘ONE BIG THING’
“What's becoming clear now is that there is a connection between the two big things that we have observed recently about the healthcare fight. On the one hand, are these crazy, disprovable, but nevertheless, endlessly stoked conspiracy theories that healthcare reform is communism, that it's a secret plot to kill your grandpa, that it's a government takeover, it's something called Obamacare. It's going to mandate abortions. It's going to mandate sex-change operations.”
“There are these crazy conspiracy theories about healthcare reform on the one hand. And, on the other hand, there are these organized efforts to shut down political debate about healthcare, by using angry crowds to take over town hall meetings and chase congressmen through parking lots. These two observable facts about the anti-healthcare reform forces, it turns out, are really one big thing.”
- Rachel Maddow, The Rachel Maddow Show, MSNBC, 5 August 2009.
"What Democrats call mob rule, the average American calls democracy. These kinds of despicable characterizations of middle-class Americans smacks of elitism."
- Ken Spain, Republican National Conservative Caucus (RNCC) spokesperson.
SOURCE OF MEMO EXCERPT AND THE KEN SPAIN AND RACHEL MADDOW QUOTES: “The Rachel Maddow Show,” MSNBC, 3 August 2009: LINK and 5 August 2009: LINK