The rhetoric has consequences

“Shockingly unfortunate” is how I see how the fervor over healthcare reform devolved into calls for protests at Congressman Driehaus’s, uh, “haus.” I am happy that conservative leaders, including leaders of whatever the Tea Party is (populist), did the right thing and asked their troops to stand-down.

The consequences of leading protest chants off of the Speaker’s Balcony, as happened in the hours leading up to the historic healthcare reform vote.  That goes along with other less-civil methods of handling disagreement and how they can lead down a road that causes some folks to act in a way that most of us would never act no matter how awful we thought a particular law was or could be for our township, village, city, state or country.

That’s why I like this particular quote by Driehaus, embeded in a particularly good column by the Collegian’s Emily Jacobs:

Politicians need to take some responsibility for this increase in threats and decline in civility. Wilson essentially received a slap on the wrist for his outburst, and Republicans argued that it wasn’t worth the House’s time to address it. Additionally, when Sarah Palin tweeted to followers “… Don’t Retreat, Instead – RELOAD,” regarding the health care bill, she was fanning the flames. As Rep. Steve Driehaus D-Ohio explains, “It doesn’t really matter the way you meant it, nor the way I accept it. It’s how the least sane person in my district accepts it.” Politicians have great influence, which they must exercise with caution. Dangerous rhetoric has got to stop.

via Government cannot function at its best without civilized discussion | The Daily Collegian.

Sarah Palin should be in jail for that Tweet. It is my opinion that she is not smart enough to know that. I’m allowed to say she’s stupid; she can say the same about me.

What is not acceptable – and should be illegal (and is, unquestionably, when it comes to the life of the President) – is to threaten elected leaders, which Palin collectively did with that message, egging on her many angry, upset, seemingly disenfranchised followers.

Lord knows I have hated the decisions some of the politicans that represented me made. But that’s our Republic and how it operates, like it or not. Why don’t people understand that anymore? Don’t like what Driehaus is doing? Vote him out next time. He was only elected to two stinkin’ years. Others that did like how he has served will vote for him. If more people like how he voted than not, he stays. If not, the other guy wins. Pretty simple concept. And pretty damn fair (without getting into the debate about the fairness of a two-party system).

All elected officials have to govern. Some people like what you do some of the time and just the opposite is true, so said Abraham Lincoln. Elections have consequences. Politicians make choices that are unpopular. They also makes ones that are popular. Regardless, violence and unreasonable protests is way over the line and needs to end immediately.

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About Joe Wessels

Joe Wessels is a freelance journalist and photographer. Wessels covers local news events for Thomson Reuters news service and features for About.com's Cincinnati Guide site, plus is the executive director of hyperlocal news site, iRhine.com. He wrote for The Cincinnati Post, covering Cincinnati City Hall and Hamilton County government and wrote a weekly political column, which continued weekly at Cincinnati CityBeat. Previously, he was a reporter for the Cincinnati Business Courier and writes or has written for several publications in Cincinnati and around the country including The Cincinnati Enquirer, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Cincinnati Magazine, Cincy Magazine and the Sacramento News & Review. He is a native of Colerain Township, one of Cincinnati's western suburbs, and now lives in Over-the-Rhine near downtown Cincinnati. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and a journalism writing certificate from the University of Cincinnati. He also graduated from Colerain High School, is an avid photographer, news junkie and was once a roller rink disc jockey, and sometimes rides a scooter around town.

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