It is rather funny. The left is up in arms over what they describe as "angry mobs" disrupting Town Hall meetings on Health Care Reform, but I don't recall ever hearing them complain about such behavior before. Even if we concede that there actually is some concerted effort to disrupt these meetings - a point that I, personally, have not seen enough on to concede, but for the sake of argument - such activities are hardly new. Outright disruption of opposing views has been political coin for years and the left never said a word against it. Of course, that could have something to do with the fact that they have always been the ones to use this coin.
They have never had a problem when leftists intentionally disrupt conservatives who are speaking to conservative listeners by invitation:
Ryan Sorba attempting to speak at Smith College, 2008
They even bring banners into the speech, shout slogans, and break windows to disrupt:
Tom Tancredo attempting to speak at UNC-Chapel Hill, 2009
They laugh about storming the podium:
Virgil Goode attempting to speak at UNC-Chapel Hill, 2009
Worse, they actually storm the stage:
Minutemen "protest" at Collumbia University, 2008
They even publish videos on YouTube with tutorials on disrupting opposing speeches:
These are the people we are supposed to feel bad for? These are the people who are complaining about angry mobs?
It isn't all bad. While researching this subject and looking for examples, I found one video that actually shows a ray of hope. Mind you, it is yet another leftist disruption of a conservative speaker, but it shows that there are those on the left who are as disgusted by this behavior as I am. If you can stomach the long enough to get to it, at about the 5.45 mark there is a student who chews out the "protesting" students and calls them embarrassing. At about the 7.30 mark there is a student (I believe the same one, but I am not certain) who states that he is a liberal, he is a leftist, but he believes in listening to the other side and truly allowing free speech. Imagine that.
David Horowitz attempting to speak at Emory University, 2007
You might notice a trend here; I certainly did. Everyone of these disruptions took place at a college campus. College campuses are supposed to be the bastions of free speech and the free exchange of ideas. There seems to be a disconnect somewhere between perception and reality.
What really amuses me is how well this ties in to something I saw yesterday. I was watching an Ann Coulter speech on television - I have never heard her speak before, but I was channel surfing and there was nothing else on. This at least looked entertaining, and it was. (The fact that all of the college students present were extremely polite and considerate the entire time was certainly high on the entertaining portion.) At any rate, at one point during the Q&A section, a student asked about whether or not conservatives should ever resort to the kinds of tricks used by the left and the reply was something to the effect of They won't learn by example; They only learn when they get stabbed by their own behavior. Then they are all about fixing the problem. I wonder if this might not be one of those situations.
Could the left actually be learning that it is obnoxiously rude and useless to yell at and mistreat a public speaker just because you disagree? We can hope, but I do have my doubts.
(Note: this is the very first time I have ever attempted to embed video into a blog, so cross your fingers that I did it correctly.)