One of 2 long lines to get to the Town Hall Meeting.
I high tailed it out of work ASAP to get to the Health Care Town hall meeting.
They had announced the night before, that they were moving the venues to bigger spaces.
Ours was now to be held @ the Hilton Conference center.
The lines of hundreds of people extended down two long halls and out the door and down the street by another block.
There were lots of Police there both in Uniform & plain clothes.
The Raging Grannies- a faction from Corvallis Oregon were there in the hallway singing their "socialist" songs, while donning extreme Granny garb-- big floppy hats w lots of flowers, aprons, canes, singing songs about why we don't have money for health care.
I love the Grannies & hope to join their ranks some day.
I just came out of the bathroom & they opened one set of doors.
A crush of people went for the doors. Within the line were handicapped folks- in wheelchairs, with walkers, on crutches.... the first thing I noticed was they had no handicapped access to this meeting. An Older gentleman with a walker, & his wife were behind me, as the rest of the crowd
pushed their way in. Can we make some space for this person to get in please, I called out.
Folks did kind of yield & let him in.
The cop at the door confirmed they have no alternate handicapped access in place.
What does that say about the state of affairs???
No thought was given to those with disabilities ~ at a Health Care Town Hall Meeting!
Anyway people filtered in & in this Blue State liberal College town, it was a solid majority of pro public option, and some maybe 30% of the brainwashed. One lady even stood up & mentioned she got her info from Fox Snooze.... there was a low groan from the majority in the room. Her wisdom included the fact people just need to eat right & exercise more. I got the impression she was pretty much tuned out once she mentioned "Fox", and "News" in the same sentence.
Get the hook!
Her Fox based (forget the FACTS, just FOX??) theory may have a glimmer of truth, but it falls flat on it's face when you are talking about major, chronic, expensive diseases. Go tell the kids fighting for their lives in the Cancer ward, or the family in medical bankruptcy, struggling to pay for a lifesaving surgery the insurance company will not pay for, that they need to change their diet to make everything alright?
There was a guy who was hung up on abortion, and that was his entire focus.
Guess what Sir-- bringing a baby into this world who will not have health care coverage is a topic you probably never considered. Preemies can become million dollar babies in short order, if they have an early or complicated birth. That is a huge fundamental rift I have with the anti-choice people, all they care about is *having babies*, they do not care about what happens to them after they are born.
They gave people tickets for a chance to speak in a lotto- but people did not know what they were for--they were just handed a ticket as they walked in the door.
so when DeFazio started calling out numbers.... people were not raising their hands to speak... to claim the ticket.
We wasted a bunch of time with the dead air lotto.... and when people said I have a question, they were refused, because he found sticking with the ticket system worked best.
Yea~ pretty easy to call out numbers, and not have questions asked. WTF???
Meanwhile, 300 to 400 people, Mr. Ramblings included had, as he put it, had "the doors of democracy closed" on them. They had reached the 1200 capacity for the room & no one else could enter the room unless someone left the room. Not only are people locked out of healthcare, but they are locked out of the healthcare meeting. Damn!
Many opted to talk amongst themselves & hold signs by the road.
I never got to ask my questions.
Nobody else brought up the items I wanted to address.
For a time, when the meeting stalled calling out lotto speaking numbers 70% unclaimed....
I thought of just having a verbal outburst-- knowing full well I would get thrown out, but at least the important topics would be mentioned.
What I would have said, if I could have spoken:
• Mr. DeFazio-- I understand health care is expensive and cuts must be made in order to afford it. Might I suggest the WAR BUDGETS be cut. A trillion Dollars could have purchased a decent health care program.
(Nobody-- not one damned person brought up War spending the entire meeting--although Wall Street bailouts were mentioned. Also DeFazio has never turned down war funding.... because he "supports the troops".)
• I have serious concerns about Ethics, and conflicts of interest. With the Health care industry profiteers & Big Pharma stuffing the pockets of Congress with millions of dollars, how can they be impartial voters on the matter, and how can families in medical bankruptcy, and those struggling without any health care compete?
Why are we allowing it on this very important subject?
I wanted to use word *prostitution*... because certain members of congress sure seem to be whores taking the money from big biz johns.
Overall, the meeting was too tame. Too anemic. Too civilized.
Not that I wanted rude yelling, but people who had questions at the ready-- fire in their belly, if you will, were not allowed to speak.
There were a few huge signs with the NoBama & the killing Granny rhetoric.... mounted on large sticks.... I was surprised those were allowed into the meeting - large signs with sticks could become weapons.
So frankly-- I thought the meeting sucked.
We all sat politely and listened to some lame assed questions.
House Rep DeFazio was even able to pull some slick rhetoric- a few days ago saying he would not state where he stands on the topic until he sees the final version of the bill.
OK, I understand you won't sign off on a watered down bad bill.
But have enough spine to get off the fence.
Either say you will fight for a public option, or you are opposed.
Cut the bullshit & take a stand.
Maybe HIS pockets are full of industry payoff $$ too???
There was another Town Hall meeting in the next town- which I am guessing would probably be more lively- more wingnuts & red leaning talk radio types.
One meeting was all I could take (and not being able to speak, when number after number was called with no response).
So I guess the moral of this story.... is it is all about the numbers.
Money for war
No money for healthcare
Money flowing into Congress to buy votes
A democratic majority in both houses, struggling to come even close to getting it done.
Just like the meeting itself- more people in need of healthcare, being shut out & left in the streets to fend for themselves.
The whole process seems adrift at sea.
People are literally dying for health care, and someone echoed the talking point...
What's the hurry?
Overall it was Lame in Lane County.
before every town meeting, people should visit open secrets and check exactly how much money his/her congresscritter or senator has taken from big pharma and the insurance companies. put it on a sign or just tell people so that someone who is lucky enough to get to ask a question can ask flat out how all that money influences their vote, and when they (of course) deny that they're influenced, ask why the corporations continue to give them the big bucks if they're getting nothing for their money.
I wish each congressperson had to wear a large placard with the amount of their health care industry $$$ so we could all be clear just how much *on the take* they are.
Excellent focus on your question re all those millions flowing into Congress... are they just so generous, or buying votes.
Obviously.... votes are for $ale.
wow...pretty amazing writeup...these meetings are soooo strange aren't they ? it's really like we are broken....
love your questions and descriptions....
Excellent! Great post and comments!
I should clarify.... they did have ramps & such to get into the building (handicapped access), but those folks with walkers, wheelchairs, crutches should have been escorted to one of the other doors, reserved for handicapped access.
You can see what a crush of people were all trying to push their way into the room.
Yes E~ This was a really strange meeting.
The bogus lotto process was annoying. People who were chomping at the bit with questions & comments were not allowed to speak.
The ghost constituent contingency???
Lib~ The process felt like they were going through the motions. This House Rep did not make me feel like he was going to genuinely fight the fight in D.C.
Felt more like rhetoric.
At least yours had room for 1200. Ours was a cramped library studyhall with chairs enough for 60 and our Rep didn't even bother to show up. Since the avg age of the attendees was, shall we say ancient, they definitely needed those chairs!
I will NEVER understand what the medicare recipients are so upset about. Maybe they'd all like to opt out of medicare?
Why bother to scream about pulling their plugs when they are already all brain dead?
Very good description of your experience at a town hall meeting. Funny, on Air America, they describe the same, (generally), scene. The people don't get questions answered and no one gets answers. But you persevered and I applaud you. I would never have the patience for it. Here in Wisconsin, we have Russ Feingold. He actually has a staff that will talk to individuals when they call and answer questions. "An elected official does not a leader of the people make." (my sorry excuse for a quote of my view)
Keep the pressure on. Keep calling and writing.
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