The politics of shouting
Publication:Waukesha Freeman (Conley); Date:Apr 21, 2011; Section:Opinion; Page Number:8A
The politics of shouting
Rights of others subject to left’s veto
It’s an old, old lesson of politics. If you control the debate, you control the election.
The fairest way to control the debate is to make your arguments in the clearest and most convincing way. Win the war of ideas and you can win on Election Day.
The other way to control the debate is to control the rules for deciding who gets to speak, when and how. Prevent your opponent from speaking and you can win the election, although it does put an end to the idea of having a real democracy.
We saw a terrible example of the latter way of controlling the debate when former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin spoke in Madison on Saturday at a tea party rally. Palin and others had to yell through a sound system to be barely heard above the drumming and horn blowing of Wisconsin’s left wing. Those on the political left in attendance without the requisite noisemakers booed loudly and even shouted obscenities at a 14-year-old girl who was speaking. I’m sure they felt proud of themselves.
If they couldn’t drown out the speakers, the leftists in attendance actively tried to prevent others from seeing and hearing the speeches. I know of one family that was physically blocked from getting to the event by the leftist protesters. The family included an elderly woman with a cane and two children.
The children certainly gained an education Saturday on how few adults can behave like adults when they’re afraid someone might actually hear a view contrary to theirs.
There were others in the area, too, prevented from getting to the public event. Unfortunately the thuggish tactics of the left overwhelmed the event security.
The Capitol Police were no help, either, as they directed the tea party event attendees through the protesters. They also did not erect any barriers to separate the two groups, even though they had erected barriers for competing rallies before. It was as if the Capitol Police members were trying to cause an ugly and tragic incident.
The Capitol Police did make one arrest Saturday, ruining their perfect record of “see no evil, hear no evil, arrest no evil.” Apparently saying “pretty please with sugar on top” didn’t work for Chief Charles Tubbs this time.
What sense of self-righteousness would drive someone to yell obscenities at a 14-year-old girl, or prevent an old woman from taking a seat at a public event? What flaws in their character allow them to justify such behavior to themselves?
The same sense of entitlement that led the unions and their allies on the political left to seize the state Capitol and actually try to physically prevent a vote on Gov. Scott Walker’s budget repair bill. The same arrogance that assumes that elections only matter when they say elections matter. The same contempt for others that assumes that only they have rights.
For others, the rights to peacefully assemble and to engage in free speech are subject to the left’s veto, and they demonstrated it again on Saturday.
This is not a new phenomenon. The political left has always tried to shut down debate that they didn’t want to hear. They often have accomplices in the “mainstream media” who are reluctant to report on the thuggish tactics of the political left. And the left knows that nobody on their own side will condemn their behavior.
As of this writing, not one Democratic leader in Wisconsin has stepped forward to condemn the behavior of the political left in Madison in trying to shout down the tea party rally. Not one newspaper has issued an editorial condemning this attack on free speech by the left.
Fortunately, the mainstream media no longer has a monopoly on what gets reported. The Internet means that the truth can be discovered via blogs, alternative news websites, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and other sources.
As the left and its Democratic Party allies discovered when Justice David Prosser was re-elected, the whole world is watching. They are seeing the behavior of the left, and they don’t like what they are seeing.
(James Wigderson is a blogger publishing at http://www.wigderson.com and a Waukesha resident. His column runs Thursdays in The Freeman.)