Protesting is patriotic

Published 8:21 pm Monday, August 31, 2009

Dear Editor,

I read with interest Auburn pastor Jim Evans’ column last week, “What’s Really Motivating Town-Hall Mobs?” This column was published on the website,, and in several Alabama newspapers.

I must say I found this article very judgmental.

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“Mobs” conjures up images of tar and pitch and nooses. This pejorative description has been used lately to smear citizens concerned about the proposed massive overhaul of American healthcare.

Citizens who take the time to dialogue with their representatives aren’t mobs, but individuals participating in democracy. They are “we the people.”

Evans quotes former Alabama congressman John Buchanan who talked about the “noise of democracy.” Democratic noise is a good thing, and we should celebrate this American freedom.

I agree with former senator Hillary Clinton who said in 2003, “I am sick and tired of people who say that if you debate and you disagree with this administration somehow you’re not patriotic. We should stand up and say we are Americans and we have a right to debate and disagree with any administration.”

Last October, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said, “Elect us, hold us accountable, and make a judgment and then go from there.”

It’s not mob behavior to hold our leaders accountable as Sen. Clinton and Speaker Pelosi encouraged.

No one condones threatening or shouting down a speaker, but neither should any citizen be reticent to express an opinion to elected officials who, after all, are servants of the people.

Mr. Evans boils the issue down to “displaced racism.”

Oh, please.

The last time Americans questioned a massive healthcare overhaul we had a white president. It’s patently unfair to label opponents of bigger government racists, but the left seems to do this quite a bit. It is they who inject race into this debate when it has nothing to do with the issue.

Granted there are extremists who show up at large meetings from time to time, but these folk aren’t representative of the rest of conservatives. Extremists are on the other side, too. Remember Ted Kaczynski, “the Unabomber,” had a copy of Al Gore’s “Earth in the Balance” tucked away in his mountain hideaway.

President Obama should’ve learned from President Clinton who now says incremental steps would’ve been the best way to move ahead with healthcare overhaul in the 90s.

All of us want to make our system better, but we must take the necessary time to do it right.

Labeling concerned citizens “mobs” and “racists” is condescending and unfair.

Michael J. Brooks