The wheelchair-bound woman who was shouted down by that crowd of teabaggers at a New Jersey town-hall meeting on health-care reform hosted by Rep. Frank Pallone was on MSNBC yesterday with David Shuster and Alex Witt, and she provided a deeply disturbing portrait of what is transpiring at these gatherings.
The woman, Marianne Hoynes, described how the forum was invaded by organized teabaggers from New York, "so this wasn't even their town-hall meeting."
Hoynes: There was a large group of people who showed up that night for the purpose of making sure that questions couldn't be asked, and we couldn't hear information. I don't know how to describe it any other way.
... You know, you could tell that they were very organized. They came in groups, they had signs ready, which -- outside they were chanting, but as time went on, and certainly by the time we got into that room, which held about 500 people, they got more and more verbally violent -- I don't know how else to describe it.
They began by just screaming and yelling at Congressman Pallone that he should have been aborted, and that his mother should have had an abortion, that he was a domestic terrorist.
... What they did was completely un-democratic. I wanted to learn more about this health-care system. We were allowed to either ask a question or make a statement, and I wanted to share with Congressman Pallone what it was like to be sick in America today. And I had that right, I thought. They really tried to scream me down -- and everybody else, too, not just me. And I felt bullied, and I was not gonna take it. I was going to finish what I had to say, and it was very upsetting. It was very un-democratic, and very un-American.
Town-hall meetings are supposed to be exercises in democracy. But the teabaggers are turning them into exercises in para-fascist intimidation, eliminationism, and general thuggery.