Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Thanks Keith Olbermann, kind of..

It's obvious that you are trying to dissuade those who would confront you personally, which I can completely understand. There certainly enough examples of crazies taking things too far, noting recently that Michelle Malkin went to the home of 12 year old Graeme Frost. And not to be ignored are the malevolent threats posted on the internet sites. There's a big difference though, you aren't an elected official. Congressman Knollenberg is.

But in the case of activist Bruce Fealk you came very close to tossing at least part of him (maybe just his foot?) under the proverbial bus. I got the impression that your personal fear colored part of tonight's piece. Absolutely nothing in the video shown on your show was illegal. You should have investigated that aspect and made it clear. The visit to the politician's home as I understand it was done in 'good humor' (with ice cream offered), and the 'fear' alleged by his wife and their neighbors is completely manufactured.

Politicians might not like dealing with their constituents face to face, but really that's too bad. And when they're out in public as they were in this video they shouldn't expect any form of 'privacy' or just happy contented citizens praising them.

That's not the real world, and that's part of the big problem we're fighting, especially these days. All too many politicians try to live (and legislate) in a separate reality. It's been that way forever to a certain extent, but over the last seven years the Republican Party has brought it to a whole new (and unconstitutional) level, and it has no place in a representational Democracy. Peaceful dissent is a right and a responsibility of a conscientious citizenry isn't it? I believe that you might even find something written about it in a recently 'crumpled' piece of parchment kept in Washington, DC. called the Constitution.
(The actual wording is quite a bit more forceful than mine if I recall correctly.)

You work for a news network (well, partially at least) whose reporters and photographers stake out and intrude on people's lives whether they're politicians or not.

Political activists, doing their patriotic duty as citizens obviously need to act within the bounds of the law, and hopefully in a polite and legal manner (which Bruce Fealk appears to have done), and if they stray beyond that point they should expect the consequences.

If I knock on someone's door and politely ask them directions and they claim 'assault', it's not my fault that they over-reacted. I don't believe there's any law prohibiting citizens from going to their elected representatives homes to ask questions is there? It's not something that I personally would do or advocate except as a last resort, but if otherwise denied, political activists maybe should, and I think the Founders of this great nation would agree!

You can plainly see what kind of staff controls access to Joe Knollenberg (R-MI), and I commend Bruce Fealk for maintaining his civility during this exchange. It can't be easy trying to have a civil discussion in the face of such a apoplectic response from Trent Wisecup (the person controlling access to the congressman).

In a perfect world the politicians would have nothing but happy contented constituents, but in the real world citizens with serious questions have every right, and really the obligation to speak directly with their elected representatives, and when you deny them that [belligerently] and your chief of staff calls those who ask the hard, legitimate questions "un-american" and worse, some of the more 'active' activists might actually go to their home with a video camera trying to ask them the questions they were denied asking earlier. And I realize that Mr. Fealk was at the congressman's home prior to this on-camera incident, but he also had prior run-ins with Trent Wisecup, and as you noted, the staff had a meeting deciding to 'confront' Mr. fealk for being a terrible 'un-american political activist' who dared to ask pointed questions!

But in closing, tonight you chose the safer path, and in so doing strayed from your usual confrontational 'Truth to Power' discourse which so many of us admire.

1 comment:

  1. Bruce Fealk here, Tom. Wow, great article Tom. I'm going to try to get on the show to put out the truth about some of the accusations.


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