Lately we have heard much fulminating on the threat posed by racist, misogynistic, right-wing lunatics who, already teetering on the brink of sanity at the very idea of a black president and a female speaker of the House, have now been driven completely ’round the bend by the passage of Obamacare. We have been warned, most recently by Eugene Robinson in the Washington Post and Frank Rich in the New York Times, that these deranged souls are even now donning their grease paint and camouflage as they prepare to take up arms and overthrow the government.
So it was obviously with some trepidation that I drove out to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley on Tuesday to see Sean Hannity broadcast his radio and television programs. Surely Mr. Hannity, one of the president’s most visible and outspoken critics, would attract throngs of these people, making the occasion an uncomfortable one for a police officer like myself.
Imagine my relief when the crowd — which numbered well over a thousand — turned out to be the most orderly and unthreatening collection of people I’ve encountered since, well, the last time I was at the Reagan Library!
After more than twenty-five years in law enforcement, I feel qualified to make an assessment of any given crowd’s propensity for mischief. Though it may surprise and even disappoint Messrs. Robinson and Rich, I would guess that if you printed out the rap sheet for every last person who attended the Hannity event, you wouldn’t have enough paper to line a canary’s cage. And what those people heard from Sean Hannity and his guests Tuesday was not an incitement to violence, but rather a call to organize in peaceful yet spirited opposition to a government grown deaf to the voice of the people. What’s so wrong with that?