Bigots to the Left of Me, Dingbats on the Right
My email program tried to warn me on a recent Sunday evening when I opened my latest message from the Democratic Party's Organizing for America (OFA) group. But did I listen? Nooooo.
Silly me. Thunderbird thought the whole thing was a scam. It was absolutely correct.
The email invited me to attend an OFA gathering on Monday, April 12, in Cincinnati "to celebrate the historic passage of health insurance reform -- and your role in making it happen."
So I went. What was supposed to be a "celebration" was marred first by an outrageous slander against the most important genuine grassroots movement in at least two generations, and then sullied further by a United States congressman who bought into it. That congressman also revealed that his posturing before the legislation's passage was really a substance-free show.
I went into the gathering thinking that Ohio First District Congressman Steve Driehaus's purpose there would be to tell attendees what's in store for them in the brave new world of state-run medical care.
Recall that Driehaus was a member of the so-called Stupak Six group of allegedly pro-life congresspersons, including the now retiring Bart Stupak of Michigan, who said they would not vote for state-controlled health care unless it included prohibitions on the use of federal funds for abortions at least as strong as those contained in the landmark Hyde Amendment. Henry Hyde's greatest legacy became law in the mid-1970s and survived a 1980 Supreme Court challenge. Driehaus ultimately voted "yes," so I expected to hear why he did so and why he felt that pro-lifers should agree with his vote.
Keep in mind that the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported the following on Thursday, March 18, three days before the bill passed in the House:
Driehaus, a Democrat, supported last year's House bill but has said he plans to vote no on the current bill because he worries it doesn't go far enough to prohibit federal money from being spent on abortions.
Because the venue was a church and a congressman would be present, I thought that the speeches might be free of the hateful rhetoric that the left has brazenly and falsely directed at anyone and everyone opposing ObamaCare during the weeks since it became law. Uh, not exactly.
There is good news. No more than 50 people other than the scheduled speakers were there. That's really pathetic, given that the church is located within a half-hour drive of about 1.5 million people, and that the related OFA invite more than likely went out to at least 0.5% of the group's email list of 13 million (i.e., about 65,000 local residents). What's more, a dozen or more of the 50 attendees appeared to be hardcore, longtime activists, who on any given day can usually be counted on to attend whatever area leftist event might be taking place.
If there is really a groundswell of support among Democratic Party voters for what Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and the Democratic Party did to the nation last month, it was almost totally absent from the "celebration."
After opening the event with a prayer (separation of church and state was apparently on vacation), the moderator framed the gathering as a funeral, in the sense that years of "indecision, foolishness, and failure" were being buried. A Catholic nun then spoke, uttering the discomfiting and frequently expressed sentiment that the recently passed legislation is only "a step in the right direction" towards equity and justice.
A couple of speakers later, the Rev. Damon Lynch, whom the moderator described as "the president of us all," spoke. Lynch's claim to infamy is that in 2001, he more than anyone else in Cincinnati was responsible for fanning the flames of lawlessness that turned a tragic accidental death of a young African-American man at the hands of the city's police into riots that made national news and sent the Queen City's reputation into the tank for the better part of the next decade. Among other things, Lynch said that he prayed for a Driehaus victory against former First District Congressman Steve Chabot in November.
Next came Nathaniel Jones, a retired judge. Jones's civil rights activism and legal defense activities during the 1960s and 1970s before his 23 years as a judge were mostly commendable, but what he said on this day was despicable.
Jones asserted that the basic motivation behind the just-passed legislation was the same as what led to the Civil War and was what the 1960s civil rights movement was all about.
Then, to at least a plurality of nods and "uh-huhs" from the audience, Jones said that those who are going around "carrying tea bags" are "the modern-day version of the KKK." Yes, he did.
Eventually, Congressman Driehaus stepped up to decent but non-rousing applause.
He said nothing specific about the legislation. He told us that in his mind it was fundamentally a civil rights bill, providing the previously undiscovered civil right known as "peace of mind." He also said nothing about how he was won over on the abortion issue; based on what he said next, his alleged pro-life beliefs appear to have been a ruse to keep America and his constituents in artificial suspense.
He twice described his pre-passage mindset in terms totally different from what he and the press portrayed in the run-up to the vote. Early in the speech, he said, "I was fully confident we would get to 'yes.'" In a later statement, it turned into "I knew I would get there." Especially note the "I" in the second quote. There can be no reasonable doubt that Steve Driehaus always intended to vote as he did.
As to the Reverend Jones's scurrilous characterization of ObamaCare's opponents, Driehaus, who at the beginning of his speech described Jones as a "legend," said that he agreed with him. He also said that those same forces that opposed the stimulus are against cap and trade and are resisting the "realignment" that is occurring.
After telling the group that he needs them now more than ever during the next election campaign, Driehaus stepped away from the microphone to a standing ovation.
These, ladies and gentlemen, are your bigots on the left, who demonize any and all opposition in the harshest conceivable terms. It turns out that the Klan comparison I witnessed is not an isolated rant of a civil-rights veteran who has tragically lost his way, but is a meme that began the weekend before Jones spoke.