What we're seeing from the health care town halls and what we've seen from the "birthers" is essentially what I call the Tyranny of the Tantrum, which many parents encounter during the "terrible twos."
There is no "we" in the protester's view, no welcome for your tired, your poor, your huddled masses of fellow Americans, much less immigrants. There is only my family, my friends, my neighborhood, my church and my ethnic group,
My grandmother was one of the first people a pacemaker was used on. A lot of very sincere people believe that if Obama's health care reform bill passes, old people will essentially be facing death panels and denied care.
I stood outside of a town hall meeting the other day to interview people who had participated and recorded this really amazing interview with one of the more influential speakers on health care reform.
It is important not to treat these incidents of public gun-carrying as merely the misguided behavior of a few. It is more than that; the acting out of central tenets of the extremist "gun rights" ideology.
The rise of gun-toting protesters at town hall meetings has put citizens' right to bear arms in direct conflict with their right to attend public political meetings without fear of physical retribution.
Color of Change has done a remarkable thing: One by one, they have moved Beck's advertisers to pull their ads, the latest being Walmart. No small feat. But I'm not sure how much Beck's bosses really care.