Strangers to Dissent, Liberals Try to Stifle It
by Michael Barone at Townhall.com
It is an interesting phenomenon that the response of the left half of our political spectrum to criticism and argument is often to try to shut it down. Thus President Obama in his Sept. 9 speech to a joint session of Congress told us to stop “bickering,” as if principled objections to major changes in public policy were just childish obstinacy, and chastised his critics for telling “lies,” employing “scare tactics” and playing “games.” Unlike his predecessor, he sought to use the prestige of his office to shut criticism down.
Now, no one likes criticism very much, and most politicians would prefer to have their colleagues and constituents meekly and gratefully agree with them on pretty much everything. And yes, Rep. Joe Wilson did seem to have broken the rules and standards of decorum of the House (though not of the British House of Commons) when he shouted, “You lie!” in the middle of Obama’s speech.
But none of this justifies the charges, passed off as cool-headed analysis, that Obama’s critics are motivated by racism. There are plenty of non-racist reasons to oppose (or to support) the Democrats’ health care proposals.
I would submit that the president’s call for an end to “bickering” and the charges of racism by some of his supporters are the natural reflex of people who are not used to hearing people disagree with them and who are determined to shut them up.
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