It’s hard to argue against civility in public debate and it’s harder to argue that those who protest against proposed health-care legislation that lays the groundwork for a single-payer system should carry arms.
The plain fact is that nobody has any reason to carry arms to town hall meetings or to any other gathering organized to discuss public policy issues. Conservatives who do, as some did in Arizona to affirm their right to bear arms, merely give ammunition to those on the left who would like to portray all vocal opponents of the cram-down health care legislation as assorted kooks and other extremists who threaten public officials, and the President in particular.
Those who invite attention to themselves while exercising their right to carry weapons are probably among those who are least likely to pose a threat to any creature without antlers or feathers. I’ll grant the left this, though: Nobody has any business toting firearms in public settings where emotions are likely to be heated — and that includes concerts, night-clubs, sporting events and public policy debates.
The proposed health-care legislation, and the manner in which it’s being railroaded through Congress, does invite opponents to fear that a tyrannical majority that can do as it pleases can pass legislation that severely restricts the right to bear arms. People who are comfortable that their voices are heard don’t parade about public places with semi-automatic weapons.
Actually it does appear that America’s voice is being heard. The so-called “public option” which would be the vehicle for single-payer national health-care financing does not have the support necessary to pass Congress. That greatly displeases former Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean and about 100 liberal Democrats in Congress, inviting them all to scream that nothing will pass without the public option.
Clearly, the voices of a majority of Americans who oppose features of ObamaCare that they fear will cost them their private medical insurance plans are being heard. Public option may not be dead, but the Administration is back-tracking.
My advice to those on the right who want to mix this debate with one that they think is down the road (gun control) is: Don’t do it. Any hint or visible evidence of what can be characterized as extremism does opponents of ObamaCare no favors.