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Tea Party protests leave bitter tastePosted Sunday, March 21, 2010, at 5:27 PM
Whether you agree or not with the final outcome on the health care bill before Congress, one thing's for sure: It's brought out the meanness in some people.
The slurs shouted at some lawmakers Saturday were unnecessary. Just call it Beavis and Butthead politics. Or, more seriously, bullying -- the same thing school officials are trying to eliminate among students.
News stories have said most of the shouters were "tea party" people.
I'm all for peaceful protests, even if they're loud and raucous. The United States was founded on, among things, the right to speak out.
But the past few months have seen protests taken too far. Examples: Last summer, when Democratic lawmakers' town meetings were disrupted -- or drowned out -- by conservatives whose tactic was keep them from even being heard. Comments on talk radio by hosts and callers wishing death or harm on opponents and their families. Actions that are clearly aimed at political parties first, and what's best for our nation far down the line.
The Washington Post described Saturday's Capitol crowd in an online story as "mostly over 50." And conservative, of course. Imagine. The people who would have been so opposed to such activity back in the "hippie" days are doing the same themselves. How ironic.
No one should expect wimpish behavior within political debate. But brutish crudity only hurts us all -- and overshadows the message protesters are trying to make.
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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.
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