Several Republican congresspeople have faced critical receptions at town halls in their home districts after voting for a budget that dismantles Medicare.
But the media coverage is nothing like what we saw in August 2009 when much of the media treated lobbyist-backed organized disruptions of town halls meeting by right-wing activists as an authentic outpouring of anger against health reform from average Americas.
What’s the difference? Today, the people criticizing their representatives are merely exercising their free speech rights. That’s boring.
But there are differences between this year’s early examples and the sustained string of events in 2009.
The town halls that liberal organizations and Democrats have been touting haven’t been nearly as crowded as those in 2009.
And none of those being touted as examples of extreme public discontent with the Ryan budget have gotten so heated that violence could have broken out.
By contrast, in 2009, event organizers at a town hall in Florida threatened to cut the event short when attendees began violently pushing and shoving each other between stints of heckling.
Apparently, the possibility of physical violence is the essential ingredient for attracting effusive press coverage. Going to a town hall and civilly challenging your congressperson is old hat.
But of course, if a bunch of liberals decided to stage a bunch of fake mobs and physically disrupt town halls, one suspects the media would simply run a series of stories about how the “angry Left” has lost its collective socialist mind.
So, there is no moral or practical reason to copy the thuggish tactics of the Tea Party.
But there is an urgency to find a congressional town hall near you this week, make your voice heard, and get it on videotape.
Because we can still spread the word without the media’s help.