What is with all of the hooliganism from the Republicans toward Democrats? 

By now, I’m sure most of you have heard about right wing shout-downs at congressional town hall meetings to discuss Obama’s health care plan.

Conservatives say reports of health care shout-downs are overblown.  Even conservative Farmington school board member Tim Burke recently “tweeted” that the “manufactured anger” over “Obamacare” at town hall meetings is a Democratic talking point.

Yesterday, Rachel Maddow showed video footage of people shouting down their congressional representatives, all using the same tactic.  It’s clear that the tactic is a Republican strategy, not a Democratic talking point.

Of course it isn’t a new strategy.  When John Kline held his one and only live public town hall meeting last year, there was an obvious plan to deal with dissenters.  As soon as somebody got a little controversial, there was an attempt to shout the speaker down, followed by a standing ovation for the bully who shouted back.  It seemed planned, and I, a pragmatic observer, felt it was an orchestrated attempt at intimidating others before they spoke.

Intimidation is a tool of fascism.  It is a tool to suppress opinion, forcing everyone to live by the views of the intimidators.  Is that American? 

Is it American for police to ticket  people in Burnsville for peacefully expressing their opinion of a war many of us thought then, and know today, was ill-advised?  No, it is pure intimidation. 

Calling voters with obviously non-white names and scaring them with claims that they are investigating potential voter fraud in a veiled attempt to keep them from voting is intimidation. 

John Kline’s staff members standing at the parking lot entrance for a DFL event and shouting at and insulting people as they drive into the lot is intimidation.

An American should be able to go to a town hall meeting conducted by an elected representative and ask a question about health care or global climate change without being told by some anti-freedom Republican to “sit down and shut up.” How far are we going to let the Republican hooliganism go?  We need to stand up to this hooliganism and not let the media accept the right wing’s claims that this behavior is being overblown.  We need to stand up to bullies who disregard our right to freely express our opinions and let them know that lies and insults are not ways to improve our  nation.