It seemed inevitable. Crowds more akin to brownshirts than concerned citizens have been disrupting health care town hall meetings, depriving their fellow citizens of their right to be heard. It was only a matter of time before the intimidation become more overt.
Today, a protester showed up outside a venue where the President is appearing. His sign was disturbing enough: “It is time to water the tree of liberty!” To refresh your memory, he is paraphrasing a famous Revolutionary-era quote which says that to water that tree it is, from time to time, necessary to spill the blood of tyrants.
This protester is also carrying an unconcealed handgun.
Ignoring for a moment the bizarre fact that the Secret Service hasn’t hauled this guy away (yes, it’s legal, but not if they think he poses a threat), what message is this individual sending to the people around him? If I am there to express my opinion, and it differs from his, might he consider me a party to tyranny? Might he not decide that I have a role to play in “watering the tree of liberty?”
No matter where you stand on health care reform or the presidency, this rhetoric of violent insurgency, this infantile, anti-democratic approach to policy disagreement is dangerous. Every pundit and politician, from every side, should be publicly decrying this behavior.
If they feel safe doing so.