The media would like folks to believe that only Democrats are hearing it from constituents at town hall meetings this August, but given what happened to Rep. Bob Inglis (R-SC) Thursday evening, nothing could be further from the truth.
As he spoke to a group of 350 citizens at the Upstate Family Resource Center in Boiling Springs, he asked an outspoken attendee why she was afraid of Barack Obama.
Someone in the crowd suggested the Congressman watch Glenn Beck. Inglis replied, "Turn that television off when he comes on."
This was not well-received by folks who started loudly booing their Representative as many stood up and left the building.
Inglis tried to stop the bleeding by saying the following (video embedded below the fold):
Let me tell you why. You want to know why? Because he's trading on fear. And you know what? Here's what I think: I think if you trade on fear, what you're doing is, you're not leading, you're just following fearful people.
As Inglis said these words, folks continued to file out of the Center.
Later that evening, Inglis corresponded with local blogger Jason Spencer:
Thankfully, Inglis called me later tonight, on his way home from the "after party" where he met with a dozen or so local Republican precinct chairmen. Just to make sure, I asked him if he used the specific term "fear-mongering."
"Probably," Inglis said. "That's what he does. That's what Glenn Beck is all about. And Lou Dobbs. I've had the misfortune of listening to those shows a couple of times." [...]
“I don’t listen often to Glenn Beck, but when I have, I’ve come away just so disappointed with the negativity… the ‘We’ve just gone to pot as a country,’ and ‘All is lost’ and ‘There is no hope.’ It’s not consistent with the America that I know. The America I know was founded by people who took tiny boats across a big ocean, and pushed west in tiny wagons, and landed on the moon. That’s the America I heard on the streets of Boiling Springs.”
He continued: “The America that Glenn Beck seems to see is a place where we all should be fearful, thinking that our best days are behind us. It sure does sell soap, but it sure does a disservice to America.” [... ]
“If Walter Cronkite said something like Glenn Beck said recently on the air, about the president being a racist, Cronkite would’ve been fired on the spot,” Inglis said. “But I guess the executives of these cable news shows are more enamored with the profits that come from selling this negative message than they are with undermining the faith of people in this wonderful constitutional republic.”
He continued: “There is every reason to oppose President Obama’s health care package. It’s the wrong prescription. It needs to be stopped. But that doesn’t mean we need to abandon hope in America, and say the end is near, and people are going to force us to have immunizations. There’s no reason to go to that extreme.” [...]“This is a constitutional republic that can withstand any president I disagree with,” Inglis said. “It withstood Bill Clinton. And if you were a George Bush-hater, it withstood George Bush. And it will withstand Barack Obama. And that’s just because there’s such confidence in the Constitution and the framers, who set up such an incredible system of checks and balances. …It’s inspiring to me to think about that.”
“What you saw tonight was people who had been convinced of this negativism, and are detaching from the communities and institutions that hold us together,” Inglis told me. “And I believe in the importance of strong institutions. I’m not an anarchist. And I’m not a Libertarian. I believe in a strong, smart federal government that is able to meet challenges like 9/11, and figure out how to correct its mistakes from Katrina…”
In the end, what happened at this meeting -- readers are encouraged to view the entire video to see what led up to this moment -- is what's happening all over America, and what the media are missing.
Apparently, so is Inglis.
This isn't a Democrat vs. Republican issue, for any member of Congress, regardless of the aisle he or she is currently on, who isn't trying to stop the nation's current descent into socialism is going to face strong opposition in the months and years to come.
The negativity people are feeling isn't coming from conservative talkers like Beck, Limbaugh, or Hannity. After all throughout last year's campaign, especially after September's financial crisis, all Americans heard from the left and their media minions was that the world was coming to an end.
For months people were told the economy was the worst it's been since the Great Depression. You can't hear that day in and day out without becoming somewhat depressed.
Compounding this is the so-called solutions put in place by the new administration which will cause a debt explosion in this nation like nothing we've experienced since World War II. Add in pending legislation to actually tax the emission of carbon dioxide as well as move the nation towards universal healthcare and Americans are justifiably worried their country is disappearing before their very eyes.
Those like Inglis that believe this sense of fear is coming from conservative talkers are misunderstanding what's happening to our nation, and how those that are aware of it are rightfully reacting.
As it's only been a little over six months since the new administration took over, folks on both sides of the aisle better quickly get in touch with their constituents' anxieties or there will be a lot of new faces in the House in January 2011.
*****Update: NBer Sterling rightly points out that Inglis was part of a group of Congressmen and women who went to Australia last year on a rather lavish trip to "study" global warming. Despite his conversion to the alarmist side, Inglis did not vote for the recently passed cap and tax bill in the House.