Right on the heels of my last post about an example of inexcusable childishness in the mass media, I happened to read about the growing confrontation over healthcare reform in the US. Things have escalated to outright violence, according to this story by CBS News:

Violence Breaks Out at Democratic Town Halls

Angry mobs protesting health care reform continue to crop up at Democratic town halls across the country, with shouts and shoves most recently exchanged in both Tampa, Fla. and St. Louis, Mo.

At a Tampa forum, Democratic Rep. Kathy Castor struggled to make herself heard and eventually cut her appearance short as dozens of people shouted “Tyranny! Tyranny! Tyranny!” reports the St. Petersburg Times. Amid the crowd of about 1,500, the newspaper reported, other chants rang out like, “Tell the truth! Tell the truth!” “Read the bill!” “Forty-million illegals! Forty million illegals!” …

Meanwhile, six people were arrested Thursday night in St. Louis, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, after health care reform protests broke out at what was intended to be a forum on aging with Democratic Rep. Russ Carnahan. Three people were reportedly arrested for suspicion of committing peace disturbances, two for suspicion of assault and one for resisting arrest.

Clearly people feel they’re allowed to do anything they wish to prevent healthcare reform — ranging from simply lying about it, to outright violence as in these cases. I’m not sure where this notion of being “above the law” came from, but it’s now present in this discussion. This has happened because the ideologues (i.e. politicians and pundits) have told their followers that they are entitled to get their way at all times, that their wishes carry a moral imperative, that their ideological enemies are to be destroyed, and have thus infantilized them. They’re no longer able to control themselves, so they feel free to throw tantrums and beat the opposition when their will is thwarted.

I ask, again, the same question I asked in my previous blog entry, which is, What useful purpose is served by all this childishness? It’s not evident to me, so someone is going to have to explain it.

Oh, and one more thing. Politicians love to hold “town hall meetings” and the mass media love to call them that. However, I grew up in, and live in, a town in Connecticut which is one of the few left in the country which has a truetown meeting form of government.” I can tell you, without a shadow of a doubt, that these carefully-orchestrated events … complete with confederates in the audience, planted or filtered questions, etc. … are absolutely nothing like a true “town meeting,” such as the many I’ve attended in my hometown over the years. It is dishonest for politicians to call them that, and journalists — who ought to know better — have no business continuing to use this term to describe them. It’s a trend that needs to stop, because it’s a lie. A flat-out lie.

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