August 9, 2009
The Chutzpah of the Town Hall LibelBy Sally Zelikovsky
Democrat bigwigs and their media shills have concocted a libelous narrative of the town hall phenomenon that has shaken up the party's health care plans. They meet the classic definition of Chutzpah, as explained by Leo Rosten in the Joy of Yiddish:
A fair sample of the Democrats' narrative is provided by Bill Press' article "The Tea Baggers Are Back -- Crazy as Ever." One can only conclude that this amounts to a collective act of audacity so flamboyant and disgraceful, that even liberals are taking notice. And this is driving the press and our leadership batty. Like the man above, Press cries "Help, help, they're protesting!" while he and those around him protest and have been for decades. His article is an expertly crafted verbal sleight of hand reminiscent of the fascist hooligans to which he likens today's tea party protesters. In his opening salvo he declares:
That's Chutzpah, Bill, because if you did your journalistic homework, like, I don't know, actually spoke with some of us, you might have ascertained we are truly non-partisan -- you can ask the Hillary Pumas or the disgruntled Democrats and independents suffering from buyer's remorse about that. You would also learn that probably less than 1% of us are actually zealots given that most, if not all of us, protested for the first time in our lives on April 15th and have jobs and families that demand our full attention.
You would also conclude that we have been asking for an honest debate about the pending health care -- a debate that entertains all viewpoints and does not shut anyone out -- constituents as well as conservatives in Congress. We have been asking for town hall meetings and have been turned down long before the seeds for your article had been planted; we have been writing letters, sending faxes and emails and making calls to our elected officials and, if we receive a response, it is usually from an ignorant intern or a vapid form letter that regurgitates the congressperson's position and reveals that he/she will vote his/her conscience regardless of the constituents' opinions. This is why, Bill, we took to the streets in the first place.
It takes Chutzpah, Bill, to think that any of us would take our cues from a Nazi playbook. Many of us are Jewish, gay or Catholic -- groups persecuted by the Nazis. A considerable number of tea partiers have family who fought and died or were injured fighting the very bastards you align us with. And, let's be honest, Bill. The Nazis persecuted political dissenters, something we never did during the "Dissent is Patriotic" years of Bush. Given the memos on the White House website, memos from Health Care for America NOW! and the overall tone of the mainstream media about our supposed bad behavior (when the same media gave a free pass to every liberal protest during the Bush years), an atmosphere of repression is being created.
Your characterization of us as "professional protesters" is drenched in chutzpah. The left has paid community organizers whose express job it is to agitate. The left buses in people from the hinterlands, equips them with signs, shirts and buttons, gives them lunch and presto! Instant demonstration. I can personally attest that there is not one professional protester at the San Francisco Tea Party. I organize it. I know. Like it or not, Bill, we are all home grown. Some of us cut our teeth watching the left go nuts in front of Marine Recruitment offices in Oakland. But in the agitation world, we just fell off the turnip wagon.
Now, remember, you called us yahoos. So which is it? Are we slick, Astroturf professionals? Or tobacco-chewing, toothless yahoos? You can't have it both ways.
And listen up, Bill. If some of us took our cues from a handbook, it was the one our President studied, one we picked up and read when doing our homework about Mr. Obama: Alinsky's despicable Rules for Radicals. Right out of, what did you call it? The Nazi handbook? Bus them in, make them professional, arm them, take over meetings, shut down discussion, shout over them and use the media.
Tsk, tsk. The C-word again, Bill. "Mob rule pure and simple." If the few shout downs you wring your hands over amount to mob rule in your book, you better go back and read your history. Don't forget to include the Bush years when mobs, anger and derangement ruled the day. By the way, how is it that you and your fellow journalists know that the people who cause the unruly behavior are right wingers? As I said, many tea party folk hail from your end of the political spectrum and many left-wingers attend these meeting as well.
According to HCAN's instructional memo Fight Back against the Right, health care reform proponents are directed to attend town hall meetings with the primary purpose of...disrupting them, especially those arranged by...conservatives (seems a bit like the kettle calling the pot black, hm?). Left-wingers, who, unlike the right wingers in this memo, are not described as militant or extreme, are advised to meet with Members of Congress ahead of time to talk strategy (where's that wholesome debate?), bring more people to the meetings than the other side will have because they will have smaller numbers (so what are you so afraid of?), assign 3-5 people to speak with reporters and "be assertive in shaping the narrative that they write" (where's that down home objective journalism, you supposedly practice?) and are asked not to debate the policy at these meetings but to "re-focus the agenda on communicating with the Member of Congress" who "needs cover" because "they are getting beaten up by right wing zealots...." The memo states that its left-wing protestors should "let the Member know....that we, the majority, agree with him." Beautiful Stalinesque sleight of hand at the expense of freedom. And you, Bill, are a part of that. I'm sure you are proud of your Chutzpah.
First of all, no one is paying the freight. I pay for the permits out of my own pocket. I set up and paid for my own website. I finance the T-shirts and stickers. Sometimes a couple of friends throw some money my way as a donation to buy something like wristbands to give away. Show me the money, Bill, and oh, there's more Chutzpah! Let's look at the funding for America's all-American Grassroots Organization of the Century: ACORN, that pinnacle of authentic, left-wing grassroots community organizing facing court challenges in several states for its voter fraud violations, heavily funded by a host of left-wing and liberal groups. Does their size, influence, funding and organization make them less grassrootsy? If it does, then I'll make you a deal. If you label them an "astroturf" organization, then when the tea party movement gets that big and powerful and well-funded, then you can call us astroturf too.
But as long as you refer to ACORN as a grassroots group, you might want to pull back on the Chutzpah and allow us the same classification and recall that most of us are doing this from our home computers, on our own time. Ask 99% of us why? Because we want the best this country has to offer in terms of liberty and prosperity for our children and their children. I know, so sappy it's hard to believe it's true. How can cold-feeling fiscal conservatives care about their offspring? Only liberals are that caring.
It's Chutzpah time again! What funding? Can you show it to me? And again, even if it were there, nu? (That's Yiddish for "So what?") What direction? Everyone I know, who is a tea party coordinator, does their own thing. I can't even get the various groups in the Bay Area to work together because they are so entrenched in their grassrootiness.
But this is when I really had it with your Chutzpah: your reference to our Stalinist-style campaign. Who is shutting up whom? Who has been forestalling townhall meetings? Who printed the Fight Back Against the Right memo (clearly addressed to folks on the left) instructing people how to arrange or dominate townhall meetings with their MOCs? In one breath, MOCs refuse to meet with constituents they assume are right wingers, HCAN puts out a memo telling left-wing agitators how they can go about arranging such meetings and that if they organize their own, they will have much more control over the event and will be able to limit the other side's opportunities for disruption. "When the other side gets too loud, we should shut them down with chants that counter their message." So, townhall meetings, disruption and shout downs are ok for left-wing agitators, but not right-wingers. And the left should wrest control from the right and re-focus towards the left, but when it is the other way around, oh, I get it, it is an angry, unruly mob!
Thank G-d your average American can diagnose a case of Chutzpah with ease. I'm sorry to report, Bill, that you are suffering from an acute case of Terminal Chutzpah.
How does this all sound for nonpartisanship, inclusiveness and open debate? Who is asking whom to snitch, Bill? And let's examine some of the dots here in this scenario. We have a memo from HCAN, the server for which is owned by Blue State Digital, which happens to be the former employer of Macon Phillips, who is Obama's media director and the suspected author of the now infamous "flag us" statement from the White House. Who is Stalinesque? Didn't Stalin have a politburo? Doesn't Obama have a record-breaking number of Czars who, I might add, are unaccountable to the People?
One more thing you should know, Bill. My husband and many of the tea party members came from Socialist or Communist dictatorships. In particular, my husband's family came from the USSR. When they were contemplating a move to the US in the early 70s, they couldn't even tell their extended family and friends for fear that information might be coerced from them in ways that make waterboarding look like child's play. They lived in fear that someone might get suspicious and snitch on them. The mere act of thinking about leaving the USSR put their jobs and apartment at risk. A mere slip of the tongue from their children in school could land them in the gulag. All this while you were worrying about whether you should wear black or brown shoes with your suit.
The tactics used by the left in the HCAN memo and in your own article, Bill, where you turn the debate on its head and shout "See?" have been around since bipeds crawled out of the primordial ooze.
I thank G-d I will be on the side of history with people who fought for the right of the common man to be heard rather than on the side that went through all manner of contortions to silence, marginalize and ultimately dehumanize the common man.
Yes, Americans don't like "rude, ugly obnoxious behavior on the left or right" but they also have a good nose and can sniff guys like you out like Limburger Cheese. And that is precisely what scares you.
In the end, Bill, were I a Republican member of Congress, I'd encourage the tea people to keep doing what they're doing because it is their God-given right enumerated in the Constitution and one that you exercise freely on a daily basis with access to millions. Were I a Democrat member, I'd stop grousing ad nauseum about your constituents exercising their First Amendments and earn your keep by actually answering their questions instead of obfuscating and prevaricating about the bill's contents.
Before I finish, I'd like to extend Bill an invitation to come to my home and explain to my children what a "tea bagger" is and how he can possibly include in that definition a person like their mother...an educated, heterosexual, Jewish, stay-at-home mom who is at the forefront of the tea party movement in the Bay Area. Once again, the press is debasing the tone of debate in America and giving parents across the nation cause to consider cancelling their subscriptions to a media that persists in using such odious and reprehensible verbiage to malign the millions who feel their representatives are not listening.
Sally Zelikovsky is the Founder of Bay Area Patriots and the Coordinator of the San Francisco Tea Party. She thanks President Obama for rushing through legislation inimical to liberty, forcing millions from all walks of life to wake out of their complacency and work together on issues that bind them, showing the world what true nonpartisanship is.