Lawmakers Tell ThinkProgress That Angry Town Hall Protesters Deserve No ‘Glorification’

At Netroots Nation, ThinkProgress spoke with Reps. Patrick Murphy (D-PA) and Alan Grayson (D-FL) about the contentious health care town hall protests that lawmakers around the country are facing in their districts. These representatives and senators are facing angry crowds, death threats, and disturbing bigoted harassment. Both Murphy and Grayson disagreed with members of the Republican leadership who have condoned these protests.

Grayson was especially critical of the recent chaos at Rep. Kathy Castor’s (D-FL) town hall, where crowds — inspired by Fox News’ Glenn Beck — were banging on windows and getting into fist fights. Grayson said that such “disrespect” doesn’t reflect badly on Castor, but “on the people who show the disrespect for the democratic process.” He said that the positions and actions of such people deserve no legitimacy:

And I think in any society, you’re always going to have a certain percentage of people who are nuts. But these are not people who deserve any special recognition, much less glorification. You don’t treat people the way those people treated Kathy Castor. It’s wrong. […]

I look for intelligent, well-founded criticism of any bill because that’s how you make the bill better. But if you have people running around saying this bill is going to kill every old person in the country, how could you possibly show any respect for that silly point of view? It makes no sense to me.

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When ThinkProgress asked Murphy whether he has received any death threats, Murphy said that he hasn’t received any “to [his] face.” As a veteran, Murphy also took issue with conservatives claiming that he and other Democratic members of Congress are trying to take away Americans’ freedoms:

I had a guy yesterday try to say to me, “You know, I’m worried about my freedoms.” I say, “Sir, I fought for your freedoms. I’m going to protect those freedoms. I took an oath to support and defend those freedoms. And I take that responsibility very seriously. But, you know, we need to understand that the current path for small business, for everday families, for seniors, is unsustainable.

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