Poll: What’s Up With the Town Hall Protests?

I am genuinely confused about the town hall protests.

Liberal writers I respect say the protests are wholly orchestrated by big healthcare companies and their insurers, with the help of Fox News and other media outlets, in order to defeat something which is good for people but bad for the big healthcare businesses.

Conservative writers I respect say that the protests are not simply about healthcare, but are spontaneous and authentic demonstrations by the American people against horrible government policies under Obama, Bush and other administrations which are bankrupting our country. They say that any violence at – or guns brought to – the protests are a form of cointelpro type disruption by the government itself

Then again, trend forecaster Gerald Calente writes:

The White House and the media have labeled protestors “conservative fringe elements,” or as players in staged events organized by Republican operatives that have been egged on by Fox news and right-wing radio show hosts.

In regard to this latest wave of outbursts, health industry interests opposed to any reform are also being blamed for inciting the public. But organized or spontaneous is not the issue…

While most protestors exhibit little grasp of the complex 1000 page health care reform document (that nary a legislator has read either), their emotion is clearly real and un-staged.

Rightly or wrongly, the legislation is regarded as yet another straw on the already overloaded camel’s back. A series of gigantic, unpopular government-imposed (but taxpayer-financed) bailouts, buyouts, rescue and stimulus packages have been stuffed down the gullet of Americans. With no public platform to voice their opposition, options for citizens have been limited to fruitless petitions, e-mails and phone calls to Congress … all fielded by anonymous staff underlings.

Now, with Congress in recess and elected representatives less than a stone’s throw away, the public is exploding.

In a new poll, I asked “What’s Up With the Town Hall Protests?”

Here’s the final vote (poll voters were able to choose more than one answer):

1. They are an authentic outpouring of protest from the American people regarding proposed healthcare legislation which they passionately dislike.
91 (24%)
2. They are orchestrated by big healthcare companies and their insurers, with the help of right-wing politicians and media.
134 (35%)
3. They are the result of misplaced anger at the government’s economic policies which have crashed the economy, redistributed wealth up to the wealthy, and put us into debt.
126 (33%)
4. Something else entirely is going on, and the media is distorting the truth.
59 (15%)
5. This is the start of a second American Revolution.
106 (27%)

Note: I know nothing about the healthcare debate or about the benefits versus downsides of a “public option”. I simply haven’t spent any time looking into it, and so I haven’t yet formed any opinion.

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