First a review of the event, and then the teabagging part saved for the end...

Yesterday I drove up to Brighton to Ed Perlmutter's Government at Your Grocery event. After having seen the nature of the crowd at the Stout Street Clinic in Denver, I wanted to see what the atmosphere would be like at an event where there was actually an expectation of being able to speak to one's Congressman as opposed to just doing street theater for the media.

It turned out that the crowd was less animated in Brighton than it was in Denver, despite the presence of the media. The vast majority of the people present were residents of the district who were in support of sweeping reform of the healthcare system. Many were in favor of far more sweeping reform (single payer) than is currently being proposed.

Many of those opposed were also at the Denver event. And as it turns out, many of those opposed had driven up from Colorado Springs and other places outside the 7th Congressional District, and they were incensed that Rep. Perlmutter didn't represent them--even though, in fact, he does not represent them.

The opponents were typically outlandish in their claims about supposed "death panels" and "socialism," any typically disruptive by clogging the line of people waiting to meet with Ed even though they knew they would be turned away since they don't live in the district. And while in line, they screamed like idiots, revealing their true intent--to disrupt, to insult, and to debase a discussion on a critically important issue.

On the whole, the event went well considering, but for me the ugliness that infused the actual event was trumped by what I encountered as I was leaving the event. When I got to my car, I found that it had been trashed:

The best I can tell, the damage was done mostly by kicking, though it's clear the hood damage was done with someone's fist. There's a smudged, greasy fist print right in the dent. My understanding is that there is surveillance footage from several cameras, and the Brighton Police are going through it to find the perpetrators. I have every reason to believe that it is one of the more animated opponents of healthcare reform who perpetrated this. You can see why near the end of the video.

My car is seven years old. It cost $12,000 when it was new. If it were a run-of-the-mill vandal, they would have targeted something of higher value, of which there were several nearby (including a gorgeous 1954 Chevrolet sedan). And they wouldn't have punched the hood with their fist. That's an act of rage, not random vandalism.

And while I agree that it's too far a leap to associate all opponents of the healthcare reform with this kind of act, it is only opponents who are engaging in this kind of disruptive behavior, overheated rhetoric, and violent behavior. The people egging them on--Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and others--need to stop it. It's gone way too far.

Crossposted at ColoradoPols.com

Originally posted to Janus on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 11:17 AM PDT.

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