Win Healthcare Fight With Elections, Not Threats and Violence

The use of violence does more to discredit the protester than the legislation.

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By Peter Roff, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer is warning his Democratic colleagues that their vote in favor of healthcare reform might make them targets of violent protest when they go home for the Easter break.

Calling on the Republicans to denounce violence as a means of protest against the bill, Hoyer told reporters, “I would hope that we would join together jointly and make it very clear that none of us condone this kind of activity.”

According to Politico, the FBI, the Capitol Police, and the Office of the House Sergeant at Arms have all briefed members about violent incidents that have already occurred, including bricks that were thrown through the windows of the district office of New York Democrat Louise Slaughter and several of members who backed the Obamacare bill that is now law.

Joining him in agreement is House Minority Leader John Boehner, who said separately, “I know many Americans are angry over this healthcare bill, and that Washington Democrats just aren’t listening,” the Ohio Republican said. “But, as I’ve said, violence and threats are unacceptable. That’s not the American way. We need to take that anger and channel it into positive change. Call your congressman, go out and register people to vote, go volunteer on a political campaign, make your voice heard--but let’s do it the right way.”

Hoyer and Boehner are exactly right. The way to win the fight is to win elections, not to throw rocks through windows. Anyone who thinks otherwise needs to have their head examined or, better yet, stay home with the doors locked from the outside. All too often it is lost on a few fringe elements that the use of violence to make a point discredits everyone who holds the same underlying position on a particular issue. Whatever else it may be, it is not helpful to the cause, it’s wrong, and everyone should denounce it.

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