Demonstrators at the America’s Future Now conference in Washington disrupted Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s speech by protesting loudly and uninterruptedly during the entirety of her 28 minute address. The protesters are from the activist group ADAPT, which advocates for disability rights. They did their screaming within feet of the stage where Pelosi was speaking.
The group is fighting for passage of something called the Community Choice Act, which would allow those who are eligible for care in a nursing home instead to receive similar care in their own homes through community-assisted living. They chanted “our homes, not nursing homes,” throughout Pelosi’s speech.
The Community Choice Act has not made any real progress in Congress, but Pelosi may not be to blame. According to Robert Borosage, one of the conference organizers, Pelosi is one of the few lawmakers on Capitol Hill who supports ADAPT’s position on the legislation. If so, this is more evidence that America is not just a nation of special pleaders, but a nation of special pleaders who lack both civility and an understanding of cause and effect. As I noted yesterday, Arianna Huffington seems similarly ignorant about the latter phenomenon.
Pelosi handled the situation reasonably well. Her security team offered to remove the demonstrators, but Pelosi rejected this course, saying that she believes in free speech (I would have had them ordered to move to the back of the room and had them removed if they refused). The security folks then advised the Speaker to leave the venue for safety reasons, but she insisted on staying to deliver her remarks.
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