Protests vs. Disruption

Eric Massa's Thursday night meeting in Mendon will be the target of a group called "ReformNYS". In a message posted on that group's mailing list, a list member posted the following:

Lets give him [Massa] what Arlen Spector just got in PA on the "Health Care Bill"

What Spector "just got" was a bunch of people yelling during his meeting, drowning out the speakers and those who might want to ask questions.

It's worth noting that this is not at all the treatment Randy Kuhl got at his town hall meetings. I attended one meeting where there were silent protesters. At another meeting, a MoveOn representative presented Randy with some signed petitions. Everyone got a chance to speak, and nobody was drowned out.

There's nothing wrong with organizing protests outside town hall meetings, asking tough questions at those meetings, and presenting Members of Congress with petitions. Disrupting those meetings is just a stupid, bullying tactic that can only end badly.


So where is this meeting going to be? Maybe we should show up and counter these people?

It will be at the Mendon Community Center on Thursday at 7:30 PM.

Did you ever read "The Thumpin" by Naftali Bendavid? Emanuel and the Dems invented this game and right, wrong or indifferent, Kuhl got it bad so why shouldn't massa? You argue that kuhl never received such treatment but you are clearly mistaken? Did you go to every meeting? I was at many a meeting where reps from move on, metro justice, etc, were raising hell and exceeded all bounds of propriety ... so spare me your revisionist history. Massa sowed his seeds so now he can reap them. Incumbency is a bitch and so is he ... IMHO!

I was at two Kuhl town halls in the 2008 cycle, and neither was disrupted. Also there were no reports in the media of disruption at any other meeting. If you can point to such a report, let's see it. Otherwise, you're full of it.

I'd tell people up front that respect will be afforded for all points of view, and that those who disrupt of impede the free exchange of ideas will swiftly be escorted from the premises. It may take 10-15 minutes to clear the nonsense from the building, but these people weren't going to be there without the astroturf protest, and surely weren't going to be voting for Eric Massa anyway.

I was also at a hotly contested town hall meeting about the Time Warner Internet Overcharging issue, and there was a lot of heat and anger there as well, but the company officials who attended still got their point of view across. When the agenda, up front, is to prevent that from happening for the purpose of shutting down debate and, hopefully for them, attract media attention, that's something very different.

No media report that does not mention that many of these protests are being organized and underwritten by health care interests working through astroturf organizations should be considered complete.