Protest at Allen West Town Hall: Ken Evans, "Scumbag"?

AllenWestfaceslap.jpg
There was an ugly scene at Allen West's town hall meeting at Calvary Chapel last night, when a small, peaceful premeeting protest morphed into a series of increasingly angry disruptions after West took the stage. The protesters in the meeting became especially tetchy when it became apparent that West didn't intend to take live questions from the attendees -- that instead he would read screened questions from cards collected at the door.

According to the Sun Sentinel, which live-blogged the meeting:

One anti-West activist started yelling, repeatedly, "What about ballots and bullets?" That was a reference to a line from radio talker Joyce Kaufman during the campaign. [Kaufman] pushed West and suggested if ballots didn't effect change, bullets would.

Another yelled, "How about our Medicare you're stealing?"

And so on. Most of the assembled supported West, and that great mass largely drowned out the "anti-Westians," one of whom was arrested and several of whom were escorted from the venue by police. To this dissenting minority, the congressman reportedly said: "You're not going to intimidate me." Very brave, don't you think?

But I doubt that the intention of those who disagree with Allen West's policies is to intimidate him. Those concerned citizens would likely be happy to know that West is listening to them. Allen West has given at least half of his constituency some fairly persuasive reasons to believe he's not. Those whose politics are a little to the left of his, for example, he has derided as "vile." He has suggested that a great mass of the United States' citizenry -- the Democratic half, as it happens -- has conspired to turn America into a "Third World socialist cesspool." He has decided that those of his constituents with a view of world religions different from his own are "antithetical" to what the United States stands for.

What would Allen West, noted warrior and alleged freedom junkie, think of a democracy in which such sentiments go unprotested? Not much. Which maybe says something about the ugly contradiction at the heart of West's career -- that he has risen to prominence by professing his love for a radically pluralistic nation while declaring war on pluralism, and insisting that anything short of ideological homogeneity is akin to treason.

Unlike West, I don't propose to know exactly what America means or where lie the far borders of Americanness. But I will suggest that a critical component of patriotism in a politically, religiously, ideologically, racially, and sexually polyglot nation is an ability to graciously tolerate those whose views differ from our own. West's beloved founders disagreed on almost everything, with the exception of their sacrosanct right to disagree. West and his supporters should bear that exception in mind. Especially, perhaps, when dealing with outnumbered dissenters in their midst.

Reading the Sentinel's coverage of the town hall, I was surprised to read that a Democratic activist named Ken Evans was among the protesters escorted from the event by police.

According to the Sentinel:

...Ken Evans, northeast Broward leader for the Democratic Party, began yelling complaints. Police told him to leave. Evans waved to the crowd, most cheered his ouster, and one man directed the epithet "scumbag" toward Evans.

Until last night, I was only dimly aware of Ken Evans' political career. When I knew Ken, in the early '90s, he was the guy who ran a summer camp at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, where I spent a few happy summers during an otherwise grim period when my parents were divorcing and my father was blasting off for the outer darkness of alcoholism. I wasn't a kid who made friends easily, and I remember Ken as a kind and calming presence, goading me to get outside of myself, to stare down my various fears and learn to have fun. In particular, I recall Ken consoling my 9-year-old self when I fell out of a high notch in a veiny "lofty fir" tree. That was in 1992 -- in a South Florida very different from the one we now inhabit, long before Allen West elected to make a home in our state.

I mention Allen West's relative late coming to Florida not to suggest that he oughtn't hold office here, or to suggest that he's unentitled to his opinions. He should feel free to hold office and to assist with our governance as he sees fit. He won his election.

But it is worth realizing just who West is referring to when he says, as he did in a premeeting interview, "The natives are restless. You go up and you whack a hornet's nest." The hornets, in this case, are Floridians who thought they were as much a part of this state as anybody until West showed up. They're citizens who thought they were as American as anybody until West decided they were enemy combatants. These are the individuals to whom West refers as insects.

They're not insects. They're Americans. And until West begins treating them as such -- not as enemies, but as decent individuals whose opinions happen to differ from his own -- patriotism demands that they keep showing up at his town halls, and keep raising the volume. It was West himself who called upon patriots to hie to Concord with their muskets to confront a political class that marginalized them. It was a fine sentiment. West shouldn't be surprised when some citizens take it to heart.
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31 comments
Joe48
Joe48

Thank you for posting.

glass slipper
glass slipper

Does anybody here have an explanation as to why Calvary Chapel has a flag of israel flying on stage next to the American Flag?

Do they pledge allegiance to israel at Calvary Chapel?

Does Allen West endorse this type of behaviour?

Why would anybody who lives in the United States pledge allegiance to another country unless they were UN-AMERICAN!!!!!

Calvin Clifford Mortz
Calvin Clifford Mortz

Like "Pastor" Terry Jones, this West caricature enjoys the limelight afforded by his imbecilic ravings. Less coverage is better coverage.

SMDrPepper
SMDrPepper

So tea baggers, it isnt so fun when the shoe is on the other foot now is it?I do wonder why West stood like a statue and refused to answer his critics. But then again he does not believe his critics as important. Or should even have a voice.Thats the problem with this guy. I agree with Brandon. Rubio, while I can not stand his positions, does not alienate everyone. West goes out of his way to drive one side against the other.Its time for West to sit down and shut up. All he is adding to the argument is hot air.

spo101
spo101

4-26-11Nicole Sandler arrested at Alan West event at a right-wing Evangelical Mega Church. After posing a legitimate question to so-called Representative Alan West, MS Sandler was booed, shouted down, held by private security, arrested, jailed for over 16 hours, locked in a bed closet with no ventilation and maced. Sandler supporters posted the $25.00 bond… (ahhh, yea)West was BSing the congregation about how he served his nation so all Americans can be free… (lol) Of course the news media is trying to make Nicole Sandler look like a trouble maker without ever mentioning the RATIONAL question she asked. “…please give me the names of the insurance companies who will insure a 75 year old American with high blood pressure for a voucher?” I want to welcome Nicole Sandler to the world of serious political activism and community organizing. Until one TESTS the system you’d never believe these kind of human rights violations were possible in the USA! Fighting against this Republican degeneracy is the greatest rush I ever experienced.cyberbitchslap2.blogspot.com

Gmike45
Gmike45

So, Brandon, I missed your point. Are you OK with people shouting-down speakers they don't like? If not, where's your condemnation of it. If so, I'll look for your praise when my friends and I attend the every Den meeting we can find and shout down every speaker. We'll see how you and they like it.

We can have intelligent, courteous discussions or we can't. But the conduct of the discourse will be the same for all.

Jewel Maskal
Jewel Maskal

Allen West is a true American patriot of the highest order... I would trust him above any other person who is out there BULLSHITTING the rest of us... He is not...

Virgil Starkwell
Virgil Starkwell

The bottom line is that the Spartans did not need Medicare. When they contracted a disease, they simply lied down on a concrete bed and died with dignity.

You liberals are such sissys, wanting access to affordable healthcare in your golden years. How the hell are we going to distribute even more money to the monopolitstic insurance industry?

Damn socialists!

Wordsmithy
Wordsmithy

I wonder what Col. West thinks of the Karl Rove-directed campaign in the 2004 election that challenged and set aside the absentee ballots of American service men and women who were registered in predominantly black districts in this country? Hell, for we know, his ballot might have been one of them. Sure glad I'm not one of these West-Palin real Americans.

nanook5
nanook5

i can answer #3: hell yes.

Brandon K. Thorp
Brandon K. Thorp

Gmike:

Thanks for reading. I'd say shouting is absolutely inexcusable -- save when the person being shouted at has called you a traitor to your country, and is trying to convince your fellow citizens of your depravity and evil. In which case it's still rude, but not nearly so rude as the offense it addresses.

Look -- I disagree with the positions of Marco Rubio as much as I disagree with those of Allen West, but I'm not on here complaining about Marco Rubio every week. Why? Because Marco Rubio hasn't declared his ideological opponents to be enemies of the state. There is a thick vein of authoritarianism running through West's public utterances that is more troubling than any of his particular policy positions. (Which, with the exception of his belief that we ought to base our foreign policy upon a literal interpretation of the Torah, is pretty standard Tea Partier stuff.) And when you declare half of your constituency consists of evil, America-hating traitors, *of course* they're going to heckle you.

That said: If people showed up and heckled Marco Rubio like they did Allen West, I'd tell them to simmer the hell down and write the guy a letter.

- BKT

Virgil Starkwell
Virgil Starkwell

On his Facebook page, Jewel Maskal opines that Glen Beck should run for President. He is obviously a big fan.

Now, there is someone who clearly understands BULLSHITTING.

Diogenes6670
Diogenes6670

"Patriotism the is last refuge of a scoundrel." Dr. Samuel Johnson, 1775.

So, I ask: what is it, exactly, that makes Cong. West, in your mind, "a true American patriot of the highest order?" What is it that he, alone, is not b___s____ing about, while others are? Who are these "others?" Answering these questions in a coherent, non-rancorous manner will at least assure us that you know of what you speak. Name-calling is not allowed. I'm waiting . . .

Bookthief
Bookthief

He had hired muscle there to remove those AMERICANS with differing ideas. Yeah, a real patriot.

Brandon K. Thorp
Brandon K. Thorp

See, that's just the problem. All of this business about who is an American patriot and who isn't. Do you want to initiate a permanent state of turf warfare with the left-of-center half of the American people? Do you suppose the resulting nation will be a place worth inhabiting?

izzy
izzy

Brandon, do you remember when President Obama call republicans "Our enemies"? How is that different. Don't remember democrats complaining then. Oh, and I think the protesters are just racists. After all anyone who disagrees with our black president is called a racists. I have to draw the conclusion that anyone who disagrees with west is one too.

Hologram5
Hologram5

I'm replying to this post:Well G Mike why don't you just share them here with all of us. I'm sure we'd all be interested. So in essence you feel it was appropriate for people that asked the 'wrong questions' to be kicked out of their own Town Hall meetings with some being arrested for being too loud? When did this stop being the US?

since you didn't or couldn't provide yourself with the videos, I did it for you. And about the post about the children, you obviously don't have kids or a clue of your own so you want to involve yourself in the raising of ours? Yeah, bring it. The left is a dying breed and is going quickly, better get on the train while you can...

Hologram5
Hologram5

Since you're too lazy or inefficient at using google for yourself, here's your sign...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

Take care in what you wish for, you'll surely get more than you bargained for as we are just as full of rage as you are only we handle ourselves with the "civility" your talking heads called for after the Gifford shooting. Our tone has calmed down but your goonion buddies havn't gotten the memo and there's far more private sector workers than public...

Gmike45
Gmike45

How about sending me your email address so I can send MANY videos of union thugs intimidating, "arresting", and beating questioners at Dem meetings.

Hologram5
Hologram5

Left of center "HALF" of the US? Man are you delusional. In case you haven't seen or you can't wrap your brain around it, The republican SWEEP in the 2010 elections was only the beginning. Your ilk and your nanny state views are not going to go any further. You've been shut down and it will continue whether you like it or not. And for what you are calling "news", what a joke. You so-called journalists don't know what investigative journalism is anymore. You've forgotten what it means to go out in the field. You sit behind your keyboard like some "commando" writing hit pieces that are ALL opinion and shouldn't be called news in any way. Get behind your keyboard and do some research on investigative journalism and DO SOME for once in your life. I've read many of your so-called stories today and that's all they are. Stories with no substance or credibility. Man if you were born back when I was and saw what has unfolded for the last 35 years, you'd be singing a different tune. When it comes to parenting, YOU DON'T HAVE A CLUE. Obviously you don't have or never will have children so in that matter you need to keep your opinons to yourself.

Calvin Clifford Mortz
Calvin Clifford Mortz

Sir, your argument is as weak as a cup of tea made from a bag on it's 5th brew-around.

Bookthief
Bookthief

Reality Check: False Claims Debunked About Last Week's Town Hall*...*<http: a="" healthcare="" reality-check-false-claims-debunked-about-last-weeks-town-hall-in-st-louis.php="" www.seiu.org=""></http:>

Bookthief
Bookthief

You've totally lost me holo - I'm lazy? why? Inefficient? why? Because I use the brain God gave me and think for myself unlike you that take your orders from FAUX news?

Where do you think we learned to disrupt town halls? What goes around comes around.

Bookthief
Bookthief

Well G Mike why don't you just share them here with all of us. I'm sure we'd all be interested. So in essence you feel it was appropriate for people that asked the 'wrong questions' to be kicked out of their own Town Hall meetings with some being arrested for being too loud? When did this stop being the US?

nanook5
nanook5

beating questioners huh? why don't you do us all a favor and post it here if it's so amazing, and, uh, non-fictitious?

Bookthief
Bookthief

Whaaaaaa! Whaaaaaaa! Poor Holo-gam's just itchin' for a fight but instead of gloves he's got loosey, wobbly brains and depends as boxer shorts and it's just not the same! Whaaaaaa! I want a KO! Whaaaaaaa. Mommmmyyyyy!

nanook5
nanook5

those damned whipper snappers!!!!

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