The Vietnam War was a watershed moment in our nation’s history for many reasons, not the least of which was the fact that it birthed well-organized protesters who took to the streets in force — opposing not only the war effort but also the soldiers, Marines, and naval personnel who served in Vietnam. Thanks to Tom Hayden and Jane Fonda’s Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), the often-televised protests were well-orchestrated and demoralizing to many families of those who served and died in Vietnam.
The protests by SDS during the Vietnam War evolved into a full-blown protest culture on the left, a culture that continues today through the use of “professional protesters” who show up to picket everything from the Iraq war to the alleged “Christian fascism” of former President George W. Bush. Through various 527 groups, some which pay ready-made protesters “$400 cash per week PLUS ‘free’ housing [and] ‘free’ gasoline,” the left distributes marching orders to its protesters.
Code Pink, one of the left’s best-known mouthpieces, recently posted a press release instructing “bikini-clad activists [to] protest Israeli cosmetics at stores in Santa Monica, Marina del Rey,” on July 28, 2009. Code Pink’s protest of Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories products was ostensibly against Ahava’s “illegal practices” and it’s failure to oppose Israel’s alleged “violations of international law against Palestine,” but as with most of these protests it seems the real target was one the left has sought to destroy for decades now: capitalism in the West.
Yet while such protests and protesters have been a characteristic of the left since the 1960s, it’s safe to say there’s a new wind blowing across not only the plains and wheat fields of heartland America, but also across major cities in Democrat-controlled states like Illinois, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. In these states and many others, protesters are showing up at congressional town hall meetings for something other than $400 or a tank of gas. They’re showing up to fight for freedoms they believe proponents of ObamaCare are poised to take away through an agenda that’s more about taking over health care than reforming it.
And just as the Vietnam War was a watershed moment that witnessed the emergence of the left’s protest culture, bloggers, newshounds, and political junkies can’t help but note that the appearance of politically conservative protesters at town hall meetings is a watershed moment in our time as well.
These are protesters with callused hands, American flags on their t-shirts, and a deep love for the country our Founders designed and which Ronald Reagan promoted as “a shining city on a hill.”