mercredi, août 12, 2009

Notes from a town hall meeting

A friend of mine from high school sent me this account of his trip to Senator Cardin's Town Hall meeting the other day. pretty interesting I thought.


Last night I attended Senator Ben Cardin's townhall on healthcare, or perhaps more accurately attempted to. I arrived at 5:15pm and found that the line for the 645 (7pm really) program has already exceeded far.

Traffic was slow moving and I was directed to a far away lot. By the 530ish time I arrived to join the line, I saw very few pro-health care people. I was generally assaulted by a mostly right wing grouping of people with "socialism" signs covering the sidewalk areas. Almost all were dressed in business casual20clothes, but had "Don't Tread on me " flags among others along with the signs. I scanned the area for union shirts or signs, but found very few, although I did receive 2 emailings from the Baltimore Central Labor Council, one from the Maryland Democratic party, one from, and one from the Obama organizing for America. Oddly in this throng of several thousands I saw almost no one that I knew. Neither from left or right or from anything. Very weird vibe.

I tried to get into the line which seemed quite futile. Multiple persons were telling all involved that they were already beyond capacity. I overheard both left and right wing conspiracies that the other side had packed the line early. Both appeared to be correct.

Some folks in "Progressive Maryland" shirts tried to chant but were converged upon by several large guys in yellow "Dewalt" shirts and an odd woman who appeared to be trying to start something by getting almost into the mouth of one of the Progressive Maryland guys. It looked liked she was setting him up to be beaten by the yellow shirted men. Law Enforcement was focused upon keeping the street open to traffic and keeping the building from being converged upon. In between the groups were free to "interact" with lots of media and Youtube wanna be's around to record the event.
I noticed a lot of out of state plates on cars by the way, and that while their signs tried to look homemade, th ey were all the same size and had some use of the word "socialism" on almost all of them.

Sadly some older folks were there, and they expressed their "knowledge" that billions were going from their medicare to fund this program for "deadbeats.". No matter how untrue their "facts" there was no talking to them. They had been scared into thinking this. Other country club crowd folks, with no discernable diversity seemed very concerned that they might have to pay a nickel in taxes to help the less fortunate. Apparently the money changers have taken hold in their temple. They seemed quite comfortable with the reality that some folks might die without health care. The only African-American in their crowd was given a bull horn and moved around so as to appear to some as a type of lead spokesperson for the right wingers. While some African-Americans may have been part of the early arriving group, and several were among the Progressive Md chanters, this crowd lacked diversity both in the larger anti-health care crowd but also in the smaller pro-healthcare groupings.

After it was announced that the venue was full and no one else would be allowed in, the right wing in the crowd remained. Normally as nightfall comes, one would think they would leave. The media had gone inside and it was getting dark, no post-program photo ops. Many of the pro-healthcare folks did leave, but a large contingent of t he right wingers did not. This puzzled me. Are they that much firmer in their beliefs? Nope, the buses to the Eastern Shore had to wait for those who got in to get back out apparently before they all could leave.

So much for a townhall. I overheard some of those who oppose health care for those in need at the end of the event saying, "well, I will see you at the next one." Somehow protesting healthcare for those who lack it is some kind of social outing for these country club/chamber of commerce people.

So coming to a townhall near you..the out-of-town-ers...brought to you with corporate sponsorship.

Really, we need to get some more folks who need healthcare to come and speak up. Let these greedy people tell that retired steelworker who lost healthcare via corporate bankruptcy and whose wife is also ill to "get a job." This was the most heartless lot of people I have ever witnessed. Yes, some were clearly ignorant of what the proposals will do, but many just did not care about their fellow Americans. And then they have the gall to waive an American flag.


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