Wednesday at noon nine individuals, residents of the 4th Congressional District, came to Representative Vicky Hartzler’s Harrisonville, Missouri field office to express their concerns with the republican attempt to repeal the ACA (“Obamacare”) and “replace” it with Trumpcare. Adam Timmerman, a Field Representative for Representative Hartzler (r), opened up the office to hear their concerns. He listened intently, took notes, and, like all of the constituents in attendance, was unfailingly polite throughout the hour long exchange.
“Indivisible” – Harrisonville, Missouri – March 22, 2017.
“Trump care makes me sick” – Harrisonville, Missouri – March 22, 2017.
“Christian Warrior” – Harrisonville, Missouri – March 22, 2017.
Adam Timmerman, Field Representative for Representative Vicky Hartzler (r).
“…I would like my story to be heard, too. And there’s just so much uncertainty about this act, about how it’s going to affect people. Who’s going to lose insurance? And, and, all I ever hear is it will be their choice. But it’s not always a choice. It’s whether you choose to eat, you choose to pay rent, you choose to pay your mortgage, or you choose to have insurance. And I know many people disagree with me, but I agree that health care should be a right, it should be a right by our government…”
“…I think she [Representative Hartzler] is not listening to her people in her district. I think when we get on the phone, um, that is not a good test of the members of her district at all. Town meetings is a good test for that. You can’t get on the phone and take five different people to talk and get a feel of the thousands of people she represents. And she is our voice, she’s not big business or insurance’s voice. Or the party line voice. She is not. We should be able to connect with her and talk with her and give her our worries and concerns and on our issues in this district…”
One of the constituents was concerned with the “facts” presented by Representative Hartzler (r) on a recent district telephone conference call with constituents:
“…if she [Representative Hartzler] truly wants to serve her constituents I think she needs to gain access to these things [facts], which is about a fifteen minute Internet search, actually. I’d be happy to send her those links as well as articles from numerous medical journals that have come out in support of ACA. And then she would have the information she needs to vote, to make a knowledgeable vote, for those individuals that she serves…”
“…Missouri did not expand Medicaid. And, on top of that if Trumpcare does get passed almost an additional forty thousand people in her district alone will not have any health insurance. Now that comes back to when, you know, they wait ’til they’re deathly ill or really, really sick, they go to the emergency room. They can’t pay that bill. So, who does?…”
Eight of the nine individuals present supported continuation and improvement of the ACA (“Obamacare”) and opposed its repeal and the implementation of Trumpcare. With one individual, an apparent libertarian, it was difficult to tell what he thought.
This deal ensures IAEA access when needed, where needed to verify the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program. “Anytime, anywhere” inspections are simply unnecessary thanks to the deal.
Under this deal, Iran will allow robust monitoring of all its nuclear facilities. IAEA inspectors have the right to a physical or technical presence in all of Iran’s nuclear sites and will conduct regular monitoring of Iran’s entire nuclear fuel cycle and supply chain, from uranium mines and mills to centrifuge production, assembly, and storage facilities. This means Iran would need to set up an entirely parallel set of facilities and a separate supply chain if it sought to have a covert nuclear weapons program. This kind of program would be extremely difficult to hide under this deal. Standard practice under the Additional Protocol, which Iran will implement under this deal, is that the IAEA can request access to any suspicious location with 24 hours’ notice. This deal does not change that baseline.
But there are situations in which the IAEA and a State might negotiate the terms of access before the IAEA actually goes on site, and for that reason, the JCPOA sets an outer limit for those discussions. Even in the circumstance that it took up to 24 days for IAEA access to a suspicious location in the event of a dispute, radioactive evidence would almost certainly still be present in many of the core facilities Iran would need for a covert nuclear weapons program. In other words, Iran would not be able to cover its tracks before granting access, and the United States would be watching, so we would know if Iran tried to do so.
Yesterday evening Representative Vicky Hartzler (r) held an open town hall at the community center in Harrisonville, Missouri on the Iran nuclear deal. There were approximately seventy individuals in attendance.
Representative Hartzler (r) is opposed to the deal.
Representative Hartzler (r) greeting individuals in attendance before the start of the event.
Representative Vicky Hartzler (r): [….]
….of course I’m a very big supporter of Israel. I believe we’ve been blessed as a nation because we have been a blessing, uh, to Israel. And if we ever stop being a blessing or support of Israel I think it’s gonna hurt our country. just the right thing to do….
….As you probably heard after the deal was announced there was rallies in the streets in Iran and you had people burning American flags as well as Israel flags and chanting, death to America, death to Israel. And President [Hassan] Rouhani even went to the rally and participated in that. At the same time that, uh, the other world leaders are going back, saying, yeah, this is a good deal. So, gives me pause, I know that….
….So, here’s concerns with the agreement and here’s why I do, uh, not support this agreement. And it is because of these things here.
First of all, it falls short of the anytime anywhere inspections. Uh, Secretary [of State John] Kerry and others said at the beginning that we will have these inspections. Any time you want we’ll be able to go in there and check it out. That is not the case. We now know it’ll take up to twenty-four days to be able to get permission, uh, to be able to get into a site that isn’t listed currently on their list of declared sites. So that’s concerning. And, even if they do agree to all of this within the first ten years, uh, they may not have a nuclear bomb capability if, you know, this all is followed exactly to the letter, uh, and there are no secret, uh, plans going on. But at the end of ten years or even eight years they will have all the, uh, capability they need. They’ll have the centrifuges again, they can take out those thirteen thousand centrifuges that are in storage, they can once again, uh, start ’em up. They will have done research that we will have helped them finance and helped them with the technical ability on the more advanced centrifuges so that they can very quickly, uh, bring up to speed and enrich uranium….
Iran would need two key elements to construct a uranium bomb: tens of thousands of centrifuges and enough highly enriched uranium to produce enough material to construct a uranium bomb.
There are currently two uranium enrichment facilities in the country: the Natanz facility and the Fordow facility.
Let’s take a look at Iran’s uranium stockpile first. Currently, Iran has a uranium stockpile to create 8 to ten nuclear bombs.
But thanks to this nuclear deal, Iran must reduce its stockpile of uranium by 98%, and will keep its level of uranium enrichment at 3.67% – significantly below the enrichment level needed to create a bomb.
Iran also needs tens of thousands of centrifuges to create highly enriched uranium for a bomb. Right now, Iran has nearly 20,000 centrifuges between their Natanz and Fordow facilities. But under this deal, Iran must reduce its centrifuges to 6,104 for the next ten years. No enrichment will be allowed at the Fordow facility at all, and the only centrifuges Iran will be allowed to use are their oldest and least efficient models.
Representative Hartzler (r) [left] and Jim White (D) [right], the Democratic Party candidate in the 4th Congressional District, in conversation after the event.
At the end of her presentation Representative Hartzler (r) answered written questions on the deal from those in attendance which had been submitted when they entered the meeting room.
“…One of the most conservative chief justices in decades has upheld the law. And now the Republicans are busy spinning distortions and lies about what this legislation is and what it will do…”
Senator Claire McCaskill (D) continued her campaign swing across Missouri with afternoon events at campaigns headquarters in Independence and Harrisonville.
Three Things. Senator Claire McCaskill (D) in Harrisonville, Missouri on July 2, 2012.
The Republicans want to privatize Medicare, privatize Social Security, and end
federal involvement in student loans.
Signing in to the Independence campaign headquarters.
Before the start of the Independence headquarters event there was a media availability outside with Senator McCaskill. The transcript:
Question: …Okay, so, no RV, huh?
Senator Claire McCaskill (D): Yeah, well, it’s on its way, we had a little air conditioning problem. So, um, we had to get the air conditioner fixed today. It’s a little hot to be, um, driving in an RV with no air conditioning, so.
Question: But wasn’t that supposed to be your good luck charm, ’cause you took Blunt’s?
Senator McCaskill: Yeah, it is. It is. We were in it all weekend. We were, uh, with, this is our second time out with it. We’ll be in it the rest of the week, so.
Question: Um, last week, of course, the big news was the, uh, the health care ruling and, um, had a couple days to reflect on that. Uh, your statement before didn’t say a whole lot about the law itself. I mean, where are you on this ’cause some of your opponents already saying you’re trying to really back off from your support of that and calling it, uh, now hitting you with the idea you voted for a tax increase since the Supreme Court is calling it a tax increase.
Senator McCaskill: One of the most conservative chief justices in decades has upheld the law. And now the Republicans are busy spinning distortions and lies about what this legislation is and what it will do. If Missourians will give it a chance they’ll find out that it’s gonna be a way, uh, that if you have insurance you’ll keep it, if you don’t, you’ll have a place you can shop with private insurance companies to get affordable, accessible health care. It’s not any more complicated than that.
Now, if you can afford insurance and you refuse to buy it and you want all the rest of us to pay your bills for you? Then you’re gonna have a slight penalty. And that’s what the law has been from day one, that’s what it still is, and I hope Missourians give it a chance ’cause they’re really gonna be pleasantly surprised…
Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D) at the Independence headquarters event.
The press availability in Independence.
…Question: You’re on board, individual mandate and all?
Senator McCaskill: Yeah, I mean, it is, it is important. We have a mandate now. The mandate is through the emergency room. So if someone decides to buy a new Harley Davidson instead of paying for health care we pay their bills when they show up at the emergency room. That’s why our insurance rates keep going up. And the goal here is very simple and very straight forward, affordable, accessible health care for everyone in this country. And to do that we’ve got to make sure that the freeloaders, the ones who can afford it and just say, let somebody else pay the bill? Um, that’s the first time I’ve seen Republicans so anxious to defend the freeloaders.
Question: Senator, do you think Democrats need to do a better job of selling this plan because even last week in the wake of the ruling the silence or the sort of the non comment comments from Democrats was amazing to us.
Senator McCaskill: I, I’m not sure that there was a non comment comment. I think, um, I think, frankly, we were startled that they would, that they would, uh, lie like they are. Um, they’re, it’s as if they’re trying to convince everyone that the Supreme Court changed what it is into something different than what was passed. Of course the Supreme Court can’t do that. The Supreme Court, uh, upheld the notion that if you are going to the emergency room and getting health care then you need to share in that burden of paying for the health insurance that covers that health care. And that’s all this is. And it’s not a government takeover, it’s all private insurance companies, and it’s gonna be accessible and affordable. And, for the first time, we’re gonna see insurance rates stabilize in this country, because as people remember, they’ve been going up ten percent a year for a long time to cover all those freeloaders that are showing up at the emergency room.
Question: And we’re standing here in Independence [Missouri] . How important is this city to your reelection efforts this year?
Senator McCaskill: Well, every city is important in my reelection efforts. And I think one of the reasons the Republicans are lying about the health care bill and distorting what the facts are, is they’re trying to distract people from what their plan is. And their plan is very clear, and all three of my opponents have said, we’re down. And that is to privatize Medicare, privatize Social Security, and do away with the federal government’s involvement in student loans. And those are three big non starters with Missourians, it doesn’t matter what city they live in.
Question: You’re in fighting form, Senator.
Senator McCaskill: Yeah, well, it, it’s a fight. But, I, I’m used to this. I’m used to people distorting my record and lying about my record and we now have, uh, over seven million dollars in anonymous money, uh, that is flooding the TV, uh, airwaves with, uh, lies about my record. Um, I think if people knew who was paying for these ads they’d be pretty proud of me. They’d say, you know, she’s made the right enemies in Washington. Um, she’s looking after us because the big guys, uh, want to take her out. And I’ve got to get that message, uh, not only here in Independence, but I gotta spread it to every small town, doesn’t matter if it’s red territory, blue territory, or somewhere I’m gonna be working.
Question: …Speaking of money, um, second quarter, uh, just wrapped up. How are you doing?
Senator McCaskill: Uh, remarkably well, remarkably well. I’m, I would get in big trouble if I told you how well we did. But, um, and we still get mail that is dated, the check’s dated before, uh, the end of the quarter. There should, there could be some checks in tomorrow’s mail so the number’s not final yet, But, um, you know, am I gonna have the most money? Gosh no. I can’t compete with the Koch brothers and these anonymous billionaires that want to be masters of the universe and make sure the tax code keeps them fat and happy. Um, on the other hand will we have enough to get our message out? Uh, yeah, I think we will, because I think there’s a lot of people that are sending in small amounts of money that get what’s at stake here. It’s, it’s the control of the United States Senate.
Question: Speaking of message, um, one of your opponents said that, you know, based on something you said over the weekend, I think it was in Columbia when you launched your tour, uh, the idea that you were criticizing Missourians for not understanding what was in the health care. I mean, do you feel that Missourians, when they voted for it two years ago, against it two years ago, did not understand what they were voting for?
Senator McCaskill: No, I, I wasn’t criticizing Missourians. I, I was saying that the Republicans are lying about what’s in the bill. I was criticizing them, not Missourians. Um, I understand that Missourians don’t like to be told that they have to do anything by the government. Uh, we don’t like the government, it’s kind of in our DNA in Missouri. So I get why the mandate on its surface is unpopular. But if you think about the fact that we do mandate health care now, unless we want to become a country where you show up at the emergency room dying and we say, I’m sorry, we’re gonna let you die if you don’t have insurance – we have mandated health care. The question is, how can we pay for that in a way that’s fair to everyone? It shouldn’t just be a burden on those people who are buying health insurance and paying the costs of that health care. It should be a burden that is shared by everyone, especially when some people are gonna be in a position that they can afford it now and they just choose not to and let somebody else pay for it. That’s not the way we should do this.
Question: Do you think this will fade by November and other issues will become more important, or do you think that this is gonna continue on all the way through.
Senator McCaskill: Well, I think jobs are pretty important. I think continuing to make progress on the jobs front is pretty important, our overall economic health is very important. But I tell you what I think will end up being most important in this race. Do you want someone who is more interested in pleasing the tea party and shutting down Medicare as we know it, privatizing Social Security, and getting rid of student loans in this country except for the wealthy? Um, or, somebody who’s proud, uh, to be, uh, a middle of the roader, somebody who welcomes compromise. I mean, just in the last two months, two of the leading candidates for Vice President have asked me to work with them on legislation in Washington. And those aren’t candidates for Vice President on the Democratic side. That would be Marco Rubio, who I’m working with on a bill to make sure that the UN is not in control of regulation of the Internet and a bill with, uh, Rob Portman to make sure that we have tariffs in a position that are fair to our manufacturers. Uh, I don’t think that those Republicans are coming to work with me because I’m some kind of left wing whacko and unreasonable person. They’re coming to work with me ’cause they know I’m someone that will work across the aisle.
So, it’s gonna be a pretty stark contrast in this election and I think that’s what it’s gonna be about for Missouri.
Speaking inside the very crowded Independence headquarters.
Senator McCaskill took time to greet everyone in attendance after she spoke in Independence.
Cass County Prosecutor and 4th Congressional District candidate Teresa Hensley (D) at the Harrisonville headquarters.
With a Democratic Party mascot outside the Harrisonville headquarters.
“….And so, for me, it is about working for the middle class. And as I look around I know the folks in this room, whether they are part of a union, whether they are part of a small business, we know what that means to have a small middle class. And so, for us, this year, we say this every year, this is a critical year. But for us this year this is a critical year….”
Yesterday evening Teresa Hensley’s (D) campaign held an open house celebrating the opening of her campaign headquarters in Harrisonville. Over one hundred people attended the event. Teresa Hensley spoke about the consequences of this election for the middle class.
Cass County Prosecutor Teresa Hensley (D), the Democratic Party candidate in the 4th Congressional District,
speaking to the crowd at the opening of her campaign headquarters in Harrisonville on Tuesday evening, June 19, 2012.
Show Me Progress: So, as, as a constituent in the Fourth Congressional District what does this election mean to you?
Don Long: This election is huge. It, it gives us the opportunity to take the Fourth District back for the working class people. Uh, right now our representation in Washington is dead set on cutting Medicare, Social Security, programs the middle class depend upon….
Volunteers signed up.
Show Me Progress: Uh, what, what does the Fourth Congressional District race mean to you?
Chris Benjamin: Well, I think it’s a very important race for the people of this state and, frankly, for the people of this country. I think there’s a lot of people here in the Fourth District that have buyer’s remorse after being served so well by Congressman Ike Skelton [D] and after he lost they’ve seen over the last two years that we have a representative [Vicky Hartzler] that just hasn’t been representing the working people of this district. Or, frankly, any of the families of this district. She just kind of goes and, and, uh, does what she’s told, uh, by her party bosses in D.C.
And I personally know Teresa Hensley, she’s a good friend, and I think she’s going to work very, well, she’s obviously working very hard in this campaign. I’ve never seen anybody work harder than she has. Uh, but she’s a very, she’s very independent, she’s a fighter, she’s gonna fight for the working families down in D.C., so, I think it’s very important, particularly, uh, in a year where the Republicans, they believe that they have a stranglehold in the State of Missouri, I don’t know why they believe that, we got a democrat governor that’s gonna win reelection by large margins, we got a Democrat attorney general, Democrat treasurer that’s gonna win by large margins. And we got a lot of independent minded, a lot of people that are upset that Vicky Hartzler [r], you know, hasn’t been representing the last two years in the Fourth District, so I believe that it’s a, I think that it’s prime, uh, area for us, uh, to pick up. And I think Teresa’s the candidate to do it….
Show Me Progress: What does the Fourth Congressional, Congressional District race mean to you?
Luke Scavuzzo: Well, it’s very important, uh, that we get somebody in there that actually will represent the people that live in this district. Uh, right now I think the representative that we have, uh, is a little bit, I don’t want to say self-centered, but, uh, seems to have a certain ideology and thought pattern of, of how she wants to do things and it doesn’t, it doesn’t, uh, work for all the people in this district. We really need somebody that will be out there and, and, uh, work hard for the people of, of the Fourth Congressional District….
Teresa Hensley’s remarks to those in attendance:
Teresa Hensley (D): ….I am really thrilled at the turnout here. You guys are just so unbelievably wonderful. I have had the best support during this campaign and I can’t thank all of you enough….
….There’s so many of you here that have played such an important role in what we do every day. Um, as I look around I see folks, uh, that actually every day are calling saying we can do this or we’re gonna get that done. I really, I don’t know how to thank all of you, uh, for what we’ve done already.
You know, we have a long fight still. November will get here before we know it. And, in fact, this quarter has gone really quickly. Uh, June thirtieth is right around the quarter and we have, you know, obviously, the end of the second quarter deadline. So, I, if you don’t see me for another week it’s because these folks have me working really hard. [laughter] And it’s something that we have to do.
We have been really fortunate, I don’t know if any of you saw, I know we’ve had it on the web page and we e-mail you guys all the time, some of you are probably getting tired of the e-mails, in fact, I hope I still have friends by the time this is done because we bother you so much. [laughter] But, a few weeks ago, Washington Post did an article about the top ten races to be watching around the country and we were number five on that list. So, to have the Washington Post and those folks in D.C. paying attention to what we’re doing is a bog thing. I mean, this race matters. And it matters significantly, not only in Missouri, but it matters around the country. And so, to have the folks in D.C. paying attention to what we’re doing really happened because of all of you.
In the first quarter we were able to raise two hundred fifty thousand dollars. And we raised that in February and March because I really didn’t get started until near the end of January. That happened because of all of you. Fifty-five percent of that two hundred fifty thousand dollars came from folks who gave me two hundred dollars or less. And so, when I’m on the phone the next week, those fifty dollars, a hundred dollars, and two hundred dollars are actually what gets us to that goal of two hundred fifty thousand dollars for the second quarter. And so, your contributions matter and everyone in this room has played a significant part in this campaign. So to have you come out today and see our campaign headquarters and be a part of it, um, is, is very touching to me. It’s very meaningful to see the faces that I see that are just friends. And you’ve been friends for a long time. Uh, and I can’t thank you enough.
Uh, this campaign is, you know, about having to raise two point one million dollars in order to do the media. But it’s more than doing the media. It is about getting out to every county….and every county knows what we stand for and what we intend to accomplish. And so, this is about hard work, it’s gonna be about hard work until November. And we intend to do that very, very hard work.
Um, for me, as most of you know, where’s my Ironworker buddies, over here in the corner [inaudible], I have a brother who’s an Ironworker. Uh, my dad was a union plumber, My brother, in nine, in two thousand and twelve makes the same pay that my bro, my dad did in nineteen seventy-four. In thirty-eight years there’s been no increase in that income. But yet there’s been a huge increase in the cost of living as all of you know. So while my dad could build a house in nineteen seventy for nineteen thousand dollars we know now that a house costs a hundred and eighty-five thousand, a hundred ninety, two hundred thousand dollars. My dad could put gas in a car at fifty cents a gallon, my brother’s putting gas at three fifty a gallon.
And those folks are worried about whether
they have enough gas sometimes to get to work the next day, deciding whether or not they can make their mortgage payment if their wife has medical bills, or trying to send their child, uh, to the doctor or put food on the table that night. We’re losing our middle class and our middle class is dwindling so badly that it’s also affecting our small businesses. So, when we have a jewelry store in town or we have the dentist in town and they are complaining that business isn’t good, well, you know, it’s not billionaires and millionaires are coming to their business, it’s all of us. And it’s all of the folks who are the Ironworkers and the carpenters and the roofers. And so if the carpenter on his way home wants to buy a necklace for his wife for her birthday that night and he can’t afford to stop in that jewelry store that jeweler isn’t gonna make any money. And so it is about not only our middle class, but our small businesses. So when we hear the other side talk about what they want to do for small businesses, what they can do for small businesses is make sure that folks can afford to buy their goods and services. [voice: “Hear, hear.” voice: “That’s right.”] And that comes from having a strong middle class. And we know what that means, drastically. And we know that it means having a good salary. We know that it means having a job that they can rely on.
You know, as a child, with my dad as a plumber, we had this wonderful, uh, I had a wonderful childhood, we had this wonderful standard of living. My dad made a really good wage. And so as I was growing up I didn’t worry about whether my dad was gonna be able to pay his mortgage, whether he was gonna lose his job and not be able to find another one. And children know those things, children hear those things. So those very children today hear when their parents are worried about losing their house, they’re worried about putting gas in their car. So our children have this really unstable ground under them. They know that things are not good as well as their parents. And it’s unconscionable what we have done to the middle class.
And so, for me, it is about working for the middle class. And as I look around I know the folks in this room, whether they are part of a union, whether they are part of a small business, we know what that means to have a small middle class. And so, for us, this year, we say this every year, this is a critical year. But for us this year this is a critical year. It is a year that we have to work hard.
We have to remind folks, really, what we stand for. And we do stand for making sure that Medicare and Social Security are strong, that Pell Grants are available for our students to go to college. You know, when the [Republican, House Budget Committee Chair] Paul Ryan budget wants to cut food stamps, when it cuts food stamps it’s cutting not only children who are affected by that, but it also affects our farmers in the Fourth District. And so the Paul Ryan budget is just a mean spirited budget when it wants to do away with Medicare as we know it and Social Security and Pell Grants. Those are things that we rely on as middle class families and so very important to us.
So, this year, it is about us telling our friends and our families, it is about telling our uncle, uh, who just isn’t thinking right, what we all stand for. [laughter] I know you all have those uncles. [laughter] And so it is about making sure that folks are listening this year, about what it is is important to the pe, the very people we know, to our families. And it’s the reason I’m running, because again, I have parents who are seventy-six years old. Medicare and Social Security matter. I have an eighteen year old nephew. Pell Grants matter.
You know, in Harrisonville alone, uh, as part of the Rotary, they do a packing the back pack on the weekends for the school, for the kids to have food. In Harrisonville alone, we’re in the middle of the country, in a rural community, and we have a hundred and eighty-five kids every week that take home back packs. That’s unconscionable. It’s not right that we have children that are going without food in this country. We’re too prosperous and wonderful a country to have what’s happening to the middle class continue to happen.
So, I’ve kept you too long ’cause it’s really hot in here and I apologize for talking so long. Thank you very much for coming. Really, all of you mean so very much to me. I, I can’t thank you enough. [voice: “Thank you.”][applause]
The story of the funeral of Corporal Jacob Carver in Harrisonville, Missouri last Tuesday had national import. This is true for obvious reasons for the family of Jacob Carver and his friends, but also for the community around Harrisonville. The story of a service member who lost his life in Afghanistan and those who mourned him came to the attention of the nation because a hate group decided to protest at his funeral and a community decided to stand up to that hate group. And that community did so very effectively when hundreds, if not thousands, showed up.
We have a cordial relationship with the Warrensburg Daily Star-Journal – most of the time. Over the past few years we’ve given and gained a grudging respect to each other in covering politics and government in Missouri. On occasion we’ve exchanged photographs for publication. That was the case with this story. I contacted Jack Miles, the editor of the Star-Journal, and offered him photographs I took at the protest and counter protest in Harrisonville. He selected one photograph and ran it to accompany an editorial in today’s paper.
The editorial page in today’s Warrensburg Daily Star-Journal. The paper also ran the photograph in color online.
First in Weston, then in Harrisonville, one group of protestors with strong feelings showed how to defeat the message of an opposing group of protestors – a group that also showed strong feeling – without violence and without stepping on the U.S. Constitution….
….Outrage amplified tremendously only after the Phelps clan targeted military members as a way to get across his anti-gay beliefs. His message is this: The United States is tolerant of gays and for that sin God allows American servicemen and women to die in Iraq and Afghanistan….
….The Constitution is designed to protect unpopular opinions. Pandering lawmakers who try to curry short-term favor with a majority of voters by disregarding the Constitution risk cracking the foundation that supports all of our freedoms.
That is why I say thanks to the good people who waved Old Glory at military funerals at Weston and Harrisonville over the past few weeks to hide the Phelps clan. As shown in Michael Bersin’s Harrisonville photo, supporters of Cpl. Jacob Carver’s family did a fine job of obscuring and marginalizing Phelps legally.
The anti-Phelps protest did not keep the Phelps clan from carrying signs, but did keep them from being seen and causing needless pain to grieving families, and did so without trampling on Phelps’ right – and the right of all Americans – to express unpopular, even profoundly ignorant, views.
The point is well taken. If we all cherish the Constitution and freedom of expression then we need to do something about it, not by diminishing someone else’s rights, but by exercising our own.
That’s what happened in Harrisonville, Missouri last Tuesday. A half a dozen members of a hate group showed up and left earlier than they probably intended because a community decided to speak up, too.
That’s the way it should be.
The gave us a photo credit. See how it’s done, large daily Missouri newspaper owned by a greedy downsizing corporation?
Army Corporal Jacob Carver died in action in Afghanistan on November 13, 2010. He was from Freeman, Missouri. His funeral was held in Harrisonville, Missouri today.
Members of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas had stated their intent to protest at the funeral (we’ve covered them in the past). The community around Harrisonville, Missouri stated their intent to shield the funeral from that protest.
….America isn’t easy. America is advanced citizenship. You gotta want it bad, ’cause it’s gonna put up a fight. It’s gonna say “You want free speech? Let’s see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who’s standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours….
I drove into Harrisonville from the north on Highway 7, arriving at about 8:30 a.m. The location for the funeral, Our Lady-Lourdes Catholic Church, is on the highway. As I drove past the church there were already hundreds of people, dressed for the cold, many holding American flags, lining both sides of the highway. I drove about a half mile beyond the church and parked in a shopping center parking lot.
I walked back toward the church.
The crowd lining the highway near the church was a mix of young and old. Their demeanor was respectful – most engaged in quiet conversation. Some appeared curious as I took photographs, though when they saw my identification they went back to their conversations. They were unfailingly polite.
Television satellite trucks in the background, parked in the lot at a neighboring church.
There were two helicopters from Kansas City television stations flying over the crowd. A reporter standing with a cameraman in the crowd along the highway smiled at me, probably spotting my identification, as I was taking photographs.
After taking photographs of the crowd near the church I walked back toward my parked car. About halfway there, at Elm and Mechanic, the Westboro group was surrounded by large crowd of people.
Two huge American flags were displayed at the corner of Elm and Mechanic (Highway 7), about a quarter mile from the church.
There was more of a circus atmosphere around the Westboro group. The crowd surrounding them was vocal. Apparently, at one point, there was a scuffle:
…There appeared to have been some shoving between some of the protesters and church members.
Police were able to break up the incident. At one point, the van belonging to Westboro members was surrounded. But they were able to leave the area without any further confrontation…
You can barely see the Westboro group’s signs.
As I made it back to the shopping center where I parked my car law enforcement stopped traffic to make way for the funeral procession. In those few minutes while I waited to cross the highway I spoke with an individual holding an American flag. He told me he was there because his grandson is a Marine – he was doing this for him. I almost replied, “You’re doing this for yourself, too.”
The funeral procession about a half mile from the church.
As we continued our conversation I stated, “Maybe the good thing is that good people showed up today to speak out.” That’s a start.
As the procession approached and passed a state trooper saluted and held his salute.