Lloyd Doggett stands up to astroturf health care protestors to win Wings of Justice
Originally published on WingsofJustice.com on August 5, 2009
You’ve likely seen them: the videos of astroturf protests against government-run health care. There are screaming people in the videos, and stunned look on the faces of politicians.
While we know the protests are not legitimate, politicians tend to fear about negative reactions, sincere or otherwise.
Rep. Doggett released a statement following the constituent gathering at a local grocery store:
This mob, sent by the local Republican and Libertarian parties, did not come just to be heard, but to deny others the right to be heard. And this appears to be part of a coordinated, nationwide effort. What could be more appropriate for the “party of no” than having its stalwarts drowning out the voices of their neighbors by screaming “just say no!” Their fanatical insistence on repealing Social Security and Medicare is not just about halting health care reform but rolling back 75 years of progress. I am more committed than ever to win approval of legislation to offer more individual choice to access affordable health care. An effective public plan is essential to achieve that goal.
Intimidation only works if you let the other side know you’re scared. Rep. Doggett doesn’t sound scared.
The mainstream media seems eager to follow along, treating the astroturf protests as legitimate outposts of concern. Having a member of Congress step up, speak up, and call out the truth — especially these days — is an act of bravery.
Doggett could have behaved like most politicians and ran meekly away; instead Doggett called out the artificiality of the protestors.
And these protestors weren’t just obnoxious in voice. Their signs include a picture of Doggett with a circle around it and a slash through it. Then there was the “dessert”: a marble tombstone with Doggett’s name on it.
The protestors are tough, but so is Doggett, almost as if Doggett is receiving strength from their cries. As Doggett noted on Monday’s “Hardball” on MSNBC:
So “Just say no,” a mob scene, is just one way of trying to intimidate members into weakening their position. In my case, it really just reaffirmed my resolve to go back and get a strong public plan, force more competition, provide more choice to people, get the reform I know my constituents want.
Not enough voices are speaking out for why health care reform is so vital. The feeling is that health care reform is so obvious, why speak up too loudly. Except the progressive voices are being drowned out.
Which makes Doggett’s words all the more valuable. Again from Monday’s “Hardball”:
I think these folks are really desperate to stop health reform. They see that for the first time in 60 years, we really have, with President Obama and a Democratic Congress, a chance to enact meaningful reform and deal with these policies of health insurance giants that hurt small business, that deny choice to so many people, and deny them coverage at a time they need it the most.
When Rep. Doggett spoke with Mike Stark of FireDogLake (above) as Stark was asking a number of politicians on their stance on health care, he shared with Stark that people do need to speak up if we are going to get better health care.
If this decision-making process is only a great president like Barack Obama and this Congress, we won’t get the right product. We have to have the American people demanding… we’ve got to have them demanding more.
For fighting for better health care and against astroturf protestors, Rep. Lloyd Doggett earns our Wings of Justice award.