Now, not so much. Indeed, now, dissent, at least on health care reform, is distinctly un-American. From an op-ed in today's USA Today by Reps. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Steny Hoyer (D-MD):
I agree with Ed Morrissey's retort on this:
However, it is now evident that an ugly campaign is underway not merely to
misrepresent the health insurance reform legislation, but to disrupt public meetings and prevent members of Congress and constituents from conducting a civil dialogue. These tactics have included hanging in effigy one Democratic member of Congress in Maryland and protesters holding a sign displaying a tombstone with the name of another congressman in Texas, where protesters also shouted "Just say no!" drowning out those who wanted to hold a substantive discussion.
These disruptions are occurring because opponents are afraid not just of differing views — but of the facts themselves. Drowning out opposing views is simply un-American. Drowning out the facts is how we failed at this task for decades.
This month, despite the disruptions, members of Congress will listen to their constituents back home and explain reform legislation. We are confident that our principles of affordable, quality health care will stand up to any and all critics.
Now — with Americans strongly supporting health insurance reform, with Congress reaching consensus on a plan, and with a president who ran and won on this specific promise of change — America is closer than ever to this century-deferred goal.
I can’t think of three better reasons to get government out of health care than that it’s “complex,” “it touches every American life,” and “it drives our economy.” However, it’s now apparently un-American to say that it in public. Will Pelosi and Hoyer set up a tip line for un-American activities, such as firstname.lastname@example.org? Maybe they’ll just recreate the House Un-American Activities Committee to hold hearings and demand testimony. After all, that effort had such a glorious history of operating on the same principles Hoyer and Pelosi espouse here, which can be boiled down to “shut up and do what you’re told.”
Here is a video of some elderly, un-Americans who had the gall to attempt to drown out Rep. Hoyer at a recent town hall meeting and obscure the facts. Were they a little un-civil? Perhaps, but maybe it was because Rep. Hoyer repeatedly belittled his constituents and talked around their concerns, instead of actually addressing anything of substance.