“On what planet do you spend most of your time?” - Rep. Barney Frank to a town hall “protester”
While the public considers how to sneak around Obama's death panels, or veterans contemplate how to fill out questionnaires correctly so they aren't forced to commit suicide, and while senior citizens cry out for the government to keep their hands off of Medicare, the rest of us sit and watch the spectacle and shake our collective heads.
Is this what Dissent has come to?
It used to be a person, or group of people, had to at least have a basic working knowledge of the issue in which they were opposed. But now, in the shining world of Fox News and the Republican Extremist Party, truth and knowledge has been replaced with knee-jerk reaction and blatant misinformation.
Since the election of Barack Obama Fox News has gleefully taken on the role of beleaguered, self-pitied voice of the minority. In this case, the wealthy white establishment. They parade a revolving door of conservative ideologues to trounce whatever position, policy, comment, thought, or belch that comes out of the Obama White House. Fox News now claims to be the opposing view of a brainwashed society that has unwittingly elected a radical, left-wing loon hell-bent on destroying the very fabric of American society.
The problem is, it's not dissent if you lie. And it's not dissent if you previously adulated every position, policy, comment, thought, or belch that emanated from the Bush White House and then, in turn, trash with the same force everything that Barack Obama does or says.
That's not dissent. That's boring old partisan politics. And from a supposed “news” channel, no less.
That is not to suggest it is in any way wrong to criticize the Obama Administration. Quite the contrary, in fact. There are many things for concerned citizens in which to voice their opposition: the administration's seemingly identical-to-Bush's foreign policy agenda, their terrible handling thus far of the health care reform debate, their economics-as-usual attitude towards Wall Street, are just a few. The government must be held accountable for unjust actions. Just know what your protesting is real. Just know what is coming out of your mouth isn't simple corporate propaganda regurgitated as working-class heroics.
The Republican Extremists are, thankfully, still a true minority in America. They only seem strong because of their sheer volume. Their “shout before you think” mentality is an appealing aspect to a lot of confused, angry-to-suddenly-not-resemble-their-own-President crowd. So the lobbyists and corporate shills at right-wing organizations such as FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity have swooped in and cherry-picked the loudest and, unfortunately, most ill informed voices in the herd. Unfortunate souls who believe strapping a loaded gun to your leg while standing outside a Presidential event is somehow dissent and not simple lunacy. Unfortunate souls who believe Barack Obama is potentially the second coming of Adolf Hitler. Unfortunate souls who somehow believe the Republican Party is interested in “freedom” for working-class Americans while they watch their pay stagnate, their benefits shrink, and their “deadbeat” neighbors being forced from their homes because they didn't fully understand the predatory rules of their mortgages.
And the current health care battle is not dissent. It is a bitter Republican Party single-mindedly focused on blocking anything even resembling real health care reform. It is a Republican Party desperate to keep their pockets lined with health industry cash. It is a Republican Party determined to destroy a left-wing agenda and a potential Obama legacy. It is all these things, but it is certainly not dissent.
Dissent, real dissent, is a precious freedom in America. Let's not squander it on the ignorant.