Wednesday, October 14, 2009

American Protest: Boston Tea Party Replaced By Twitter

We're all mad as hell about something. But hardly anybody's budging.

Once upon a time in America, people would say: "Sometimes I have to stand up and be counted." That was in the past.

But today, I had a glimpse of the past. So did this woman. 75 and cuffed. This afternoon.

Somewhere along the way, Americans, who had been willing to commit a Class A felony, to protest by seizing and destroying private property in Boston Harbor, have been reduced to protest-by- tweet, from the couch. That won't even get you a Class C Misdemeanor.

Which brings us to this echo of past protests: an actual demonstration at one of those alleged death panels--the corporate offices of a health insurer so big it could send any Transformer to the ER. Trust Me.

This day was about civil disobedience --an orderly-sit in to coincide with similar sit-ins at major health insurers across the nation. It was also about 8 police cars, 20 sheriff's officers, plus 2 paramedics and one growling police dog. It was also about arrests.

The wild-eyed radicals who demonstrated were mostly senior citizens and mostly middle class, except for some like Leslie Elder who lost all insurance when her cancer recurred twice and now risks losing her home because of medical bills. (It's the way a majority of Americans go bankrupt these days.)

All these people had done was respectfully submit a letter at Humana's door asking merely one thing: Allow treatment prescribed by a Physician for life-threatened Humana patients. The company refused. So a few gentle people sat down at the door until they got a better answer.

The group Health Care Now says: "Nonviolent action is a worldwide tradition based on an understanding that in a society power flows not from guns or positions of authority but from the consent and cooperation of the people."

Martin Luther King said: “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.”

The first sheriff's officer to move toward and prepare to handcuff the gentle folk sitting peacefully on the lobby floor glowered and said: "All criminals."

"I"m doing this for my daughter," said James Elder. "She's 27 and if we don't fix health insurance now, it could ruin her life later." As I write, Mr Elder, a simple man well into his 60's, sits in jail.

Sandy Prisant

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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