Some things about the New Radicalism are very positive. A lot of people are waking up and trying to take responsibility for their own future before that option is taken away. More people becoming politically aware and politically active can only be good for the country.
One way this is being manifested is in the vociferous protests at the town hall meetings which many of our legislators are holding in their home districts during the August recess. People are coming to these events in large numbers; they are asking questions and expressing informed opinions and when the representatives seem shocked or unresponsive their constituents make very clear that they are not at all satisfied.
It's the video age, so we have video from a lot of these events, and with the recess only barely started, I suspect we will see a lot more in the near future. But for now, these clips may give some idea of the questions which are being asked and how genuine the concern which motivates these citizens is. These are not paid protesters bussed in by ACORN or hardcore partisans working for a political group, these are average citizens who have had enough and are demanding more responsive and more responsible government. They are Republicans, Libertarians, independents and even Democrats who had enough big government, big spending and big brother under Bush and don't want 8 more years of the same.
One of the first town hall meetings where large numbers of angry constituents made their voices heard was in Setauket, New York earlier in the summer. Moderate Democrat Congressman Tim Bishop (D-NY) was clearly not prepared to be asked intelligent and specific questions about pending legislation, he barely managed to mumble out responses while looking like a deer in the headlights. The audio on this clip is not great, but the sentiments and outrage come through loud and clear. Pay particular attention to the veteran who caught Bishop out on his fatuous statements about Veterans Administration health care.
One of the best bits of video comes from a townhall held in Downington, Pennsylvania with Senator Arlen Specter (D-PA) and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius in attendance. This clip gives a very good feel for how out of touch and arrogant these politicians are and has an interesting focus on the issue of why so many legislators dismally fail in their responsibility to the people by not reading so many of the bills which the vote on. The reaction when Specter admits to not reading major legislation sums up the frustration and disgust of a lot of citizens.