Thursday, August 13, 2009

Town-brawl meeting

Apparently Betsey Ross is against health-care reform. Who knew?


My friends and I did have a few allies in the crowd.

As you know from my previous post, I'm really concerned about how the national health-care debate is being hijacked by the right-wing fear mongers. So I made my little posters and did what I thought was my civic duty and went to a town-hall meeting. Or rather, I stood in the parking lot outside a town-hall meeting. The meeting was at 3:00 PM and, apparently, people were lining up to get in at 7 AM!

So my friends and I stood in the parking lot simply showing our signs. I was yelled at, called names, followed, and harassed. I walked by holding my little sign and people yelled "Get a job!" (as if it is the mere laziness of the uninsured that causes their pitiful condition). I was told I was naive, deluded, and too sensitive (go figure!!!) and that our democratically elected president was a "clown" and a "tool" of variously "the communists," "Wall Street," and "Zeke Emanuel" (Rahm's brother). I also witnessed a white crowd blocking a bus full of black people, taunting them. When the police finally intervened so that the bus could leave, the white crowd shouted "Don't come back! Don't come back!" I have never been so ashamed of my country.

There were some funny (in a sort of WTF way) moments. At one point a man I was talking to said something about "Communist countries like Canada." I said, "Wait a minute! Canada's not communist." To which he replied, as if he was making a brilliant point, "But Cuba is!" Oh my country, my silly silly country.

22 comments:

Marianne said...

Thank you so much for going to this, Elizabeth. Sounds _terrible_. Have you ever heard Pennsylvania described as Pittsburgh on one end and Philadelphia on the other, with Alabama in between? This may be a slur on Alabama, however. On the other side, I went to Specter's office the day before and a lot of pro-health care reform people had been doing the same and calling in.

Elizabeth said...

I'm glad to hear that he's hearing from our side too. Letter writing is probably the way to go. Even if we had gotten in today, no listening was being done there. it was altogether pretty sickening.

YELLOWDOG GRANNY said...

makes you want to weep for their stupidity..so much of this would be easier on all if they would just read..

Susan said...

But it was the preseason opener for the Stillers, Elizabeth. Can the locals distraction with all things Black & Gold explain any of the stupidity?!

Please?

(searching for a "rational" reason for that behavior...searching...searching)

;)

ReggaeVibrations_WTJU said...

I still say that you are one brave soul to stay afloat in that sea of insanity. Glad you weren't a target.

Shout Media (yes, i said it) have turned "town halls" into a Jerry Springer show... and those who get their "news" from them into tools. Readin' newspapers is too hard.

I agree: letterwriting and showing up at legislator's offices is the only way to cut through the idiot filter.

scott (ClockworkOrange)

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

Not all conservatives are stupid, but all stupid people are conservative, to paraphrase John Stuart Mill.

Elizabeth said...

Granny - It did make we weep (but not in front of them). Later, in private.

Susan - My friends and I were joking that if we had started chanting "Here we go Steelers! Here we go!" the entire crowd would have been completely united and it would have become a Stillers love fest!

Scott - Thanks for stopping by! I thought I was doing my civic duty, but really, it was a complete waste of time. I'll be writing our senator a letter today!

Dr. Monkey - Well, generally I like to be even-handed and say that there are idiots on both sides of any fence (and on the damn fence too!), but yesterday was pretty rough for me and my sense of fairness. Right now that other side of the fence is looking pretty universally bad.

GeorgeH said...

Ronald Reagan described Govt. health care perfectly.

Medicine with the compassion of the IRS and the efficiency of the Post Office.

Elizabeth said...

George - Thanks for commenting. Obviously no system is going to be perfect, but my feeling, as someone who knows many people without healthcare, is that access to "medicine," even in an imperfect system, is better than no access to medicine. Also, it's important to remember that in countries like Canada and the UK, with government healthcare, life expectancies are higher and infant-mortality rates are lower. Both VERY good things!

Dauvit said...

My contribution to the debate is that I absolutely love the UK "National Health Service": despite what the right-wing propaganda machine in the US is making it look like (by finding like-minded extremists and misrepresenting ordinary people who have experience of the NHS), the system, though flawed is a marvel. It has cross-party support and is the one thing which unites almost all politicians in something that we can be proud of.

What the US needs is to take what we have and make it better: something Americans have proven themselves very, very good at in the past.

Apropos of the previous comment how on earth would Ronald Reagan know ANYTHING about Government Health Care?!

a thousand shades of twilight said...

There are people against health care reform?????

????????????

and

???

Sorry to hear of your horrible experience, but GOOD ON YOU!!! Keep on fightin' :)

Elizabeth said...

Dauvit - Yes, the fringe elements aside, I hear nothing but good things about your national health service. And our system is just so inhumane. I SO hope that Obama can guide the country to a rational and human health-care system.

1000 shades - It does seem unbelievable to me, too! And I live here!

L said...

Oh man! I'm not sure if I could have held my composure in such circumstances. Good thing mature people like you and your friends were there to show that Betsey Ross. What a joke! I can't believe about the bus incident; it makes me sick. It's awesome that you went, though, and I wish I could have at least tagged along.

What meanies!

laurent said...

From a Commie Canadian, it seems to me that health care for all citizens of a country is the same as access to equal and fair treatment. We did not always have State sponsored health care in Canada, prior to 1960 it did not exist, it was a private system and poor Canadians did without health care and died earlier than rich or middle class Canadians who could afford a doctor, the health system was run by the Roman Catholic Church in Quebec and by private organizations elsewhere and it was a hard cash driven system. I remember that one aspirin was 10 cents at school also run by nuns. A kid did not have 10 cents for the aspirin, he could enjoy his headache.
In a democratic country, all citizens should have the same access to such a basic thing as health care. I hope that reason will carry the day and Obama will be able to have his way.

sageweb said...

Wow I am so proud of you for going. THis stuff is just crazy and the craziest people are so misinformed it is just plain sad.

more cowbell said...

I think I saw a dress like that on a compound in Texas ...

It's getting scarier and scarier. They're screeching about socialism, but 99% of them don't actually know anything about what socialism really is about. Any more than they know anything about Canadian health care. It's all based on fear of change, and their proof is that a friend of a friend's uncle's stepdaughter forwarded them an unverified email about the horrors of "socialized medicine".

It makes me think secession might not be a bad thing. We could have a job/house trade program. you know, like a Repub Evangelical Birther living in Seattle could trade house/job with a progressive living in Alabama.

I know, but a girl can dream.

Elizabeth said...

L - You are SO glad you didn't tag along. I did lose my composure and had to suppress tears many many times. Didn't want those stinkers to see me cry. THIS is where those G20 summit protesters should be showing up!

And you can imagine what kind of shape I was in when I got home!!! K was very sweet and went to Dog and Six and got me some cold ones to numb my mind with.

Laurent - It's such a sane and humane system that you have, and I couldn't agree with you more. Good health care should be seen as a basic human right. I know we'll get there someday, but it's very discouraging.

Sage - Thanks kiddo. I wish I felt like I'd made a difference. But at least I know I did something....

Cowbell - Ha! You're right! That's not Betsy Ross, it's a poor brainwashed woman whose husband only allows her out of the compound once or twice a year.

It IS getting scarier. The friend I was with said that this reminded her of those horror movies where you think the bad guy is dead, and he keeps popping out of corners, gory but still alive.

And the ignorance of the people I encountered! Stunning.

Keep right on dreaming, girl. It's how we make it through!

Screenpunk said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Screenpunk said...

The New York Times has a picture that seems to resemble your experience at town hall .. I love you Arlen.

The town hall crowds seem to have more at stake then health care .. riot as a means of politics

Pop Tart said...

I love how they told you to get a job, but they had time to stand in line for the town meeting themselves.

*sigh*

Some people's kids...

more cowbell said...

Ditto Pop Tart. But then, the Right's strong suit has never been making sense...

Elizabeth said...

Pop tart and cowbell - I know! And how much did you LOVE Barney Frank's response to the nutjob at his town hall? Fabulous!