I Was Punched by a Teabagger Today – UPDATED

Tuesday evening, I went to the widely attended Rep. Moran town hall in Reston to show support for meaningful health care reform and help fight back against the insidious and unruly protests of the teabagger crowd, which was also out in full force. I was unable to get into the event, but did stand right outside holding a sign and helping ensure the enemies of the American people’s business didn’t have complete control of the scene.

To be fair, most of the folks in the crowd were rather raucous and disrespectful, but still not intent on engaging in violence. Unfortunately, that did not go for everyone. Myself and a handful of other health reform supporters were basically surrounded by a group of perhaps 50 loud protesters in that immediate area, and we had some extra signs to hold for others who might join us to even the numbers out.

Then, a very large man with a Cato Institute shirt attempted to steal our extra signs and run away. Now I am generally a peaceful person, but I’m also a New Yorker at heart and not about to be steamrolled by any bullying types. So I ran after him as he was trying to escape with our signs and grabbed him by the shirt sleeve to slow him down. The corporate-funded neanderthal then turned around and socked me square in the face, just below my right eye, as hard as he could. Not cool. I tried to fight back, but the crowd quickly broke it up, followed by the cops. Ultimately, we were both forced to leave the premises for security precautions. The fat man was quite resistant to that order, but eventually he acquiesced.

A police report has been filed, and although I will probably not press charges, I do want to find out who that man is and whether he has any formal connection to the Cato Institute. Thankfully, I am a former rugby player and can deal with a punch, even a hard one thrown by a strong guy, but it’s highly unfortunate that people like him feel the need to resort to violence to get their way. After all, if you are associated with an institution as powerful as Cato, shouldn’t you be able to get your voice heard without punching people in the face? That is exactly what is wrong with the American political discourse; when one side feels okay using tactics of intimidation and physical aggression just to advance an agenda, it poisons the whole debate and good policy takes a backseat to who can yell the loudest. We can do better than that.

-Jeremy

UPDATE: Campaign for America’s Future has picked up the story. Somebody did get a picture of the man who hit me, and here it is:

Cato Clad Man. Do you know this teabagger?

If anyone has any idea who this man is, I would love to know. Noticing the collared shirt beneath his t-shirt, the chances of his being some sort of professional conservative operative are substantial. To make clear, I am not at all interested in pursuing personal retribution, but I do want to help expose the nature of the movement standing in opposition to health care reform.

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6 comments so far

  1. bronwyn41 on

    I hope you’re OK. I’m glad you’re a rugby player. But that effin’ sucks.
    The other things I want to say would probably lower the tone of our blog (most of them involve obscenities).

  2. David on

    I was also at the protest last night, on the other side, and while it’s unfortunate you were assaulted, I can say for a fact the man has no connection whatsoever with the Cato Institute.

    But you must be kidding to state that it’s just the opponents of these pathetic health care bills who have used “tactics of intimidation and physical aggression” to make their point.

    And if you want to talk about who is corporate-funded, I suggest you go no further than the two biggest sources of advertising for Obama’s health care plan: the big pharmaceutical companies and America’s Health Insurance Plans, the leading lobbying group for the big insurance companies, all of whom will profit very nicely under his plan. Not to mention all the other various business groups who have joined the health care reform front groups like the one who packed the audience last night. So spare us your silly cliches and whining.

    The real opposition to this Obama’s plan to nationalize even further our health care system consists mostly of simple activists like myself and the overwhelming majority of Americans who are happy with their health care and who don’t want it screwed up by the likes of you.

  3. Chris on

    “But you must be kidding to state that it’s just the opponents of these pathetic health care bills who have used “tactics of intimidation and physical aggression” to make their point.”

    Apparently instances of intimidation and physical aggression by supporters of health care reform are so common you feel no need to cite or provide evidence of their existence.

    Regardless he never said no one supporting the bill has ever gotten rowdy, only that the opponents of the bill have endorsed these tactics. It’s been documented that people are being encouraged to shout and be disruptive and the vast majority of conservatives leaders have said nothing to indicate their disapproval and many have praised these episodes.

    “And if you want to talk about who is corporate-funded, I suggest you go no further than the two biggest sources of advertising for Obama’s health care plan

    You can’t possibly expect anyone to believe that health insurance companies support this bill. There dozens of features of the proposed reform package which would dramatically undercut their profits by keeping them from denying coverage, dropping people, and creating a public alternative which would likely undercut their market share by millions of people.

    While it might seem clever to bring up AHIP, it’s fundamentally dishonest to suggest AHIP is at all friendly to health care reform. AHIP has a history of slanderous opposition to reform and is currently involved in a web of efforts to weaken, delay, and obstruct the current legislation.

    Here’s two articles about the anti-reform efforts.

    http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/documents/2009/08/memo-details-co-ordinated-anti-reform-harrassment-strategy.php?page=1&ref=fpa

    http://www.ourfuture.org/blog-entry/2009083524/whos-paying-kill-health-reform

  4. allan on

    ” … I can say for a fact the man has no connection whatsoever with the Cato Institute.”

    How can you possibly truthfully make this statement, unless you work
    in Cato’s Human Resources Department?

  5. jeremydc on

    David, thank you for your feedback. It is an honor to have such an important and busy person like yourself visit our little ole’ blog.

    For the rest of you reading this, David is being quite humble in proclaiming himself as, in his words, a “simple activist”. While I do respect his penchant for modesty, he is no ordinary activist…we are in fact being addressed by the Publications Director for Cato Institute, one David Lampo.

    Mr. Lampo – or David if you’re more comfortable with that – if you wanted to remain anonymous, you probably should have used a non-Cato e-mail address for your comment. However, now that we are aware that an institutional luminary such as yourself is gracing our pages, I wanted to make sure your presence here is properly acknowledged, and you receive the reception here that you truly deserve.

    Don’t be a stranger!

  6. Chris on

    I mistakenly erased a comment by “james”. My bad we weren’t meaning to censor, etc.


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