I keep hearing all over the news and even on the Colbert Report about these “town hall meetings” and how disruptive and destructive they are to the democratic process. My dad went to one in Baltimore to try to make his voice heard. He couldn’t get inside because the venue only holds about 500 people and there were more than that who showed up. My dad, along with 200-300 other people, was outside participating on the periphery. Most of the people that surrounded him were spewing ignorance and lies about rationing and imaginary “death panels” fabricated by conservative pundits in order to scare the American public out of commonsense reforms.
My dad tried to reason with those near him, explaining the difference between the lies generated by the conservative media and the actual proposed healthcare options. They all ignored or talked over the voice of reason. The moment that my dad gave up being that voice in that crowd went something like this, in a paraphrase of his words:
“People were shouting and holding up signs and trying to block any dialogue. One sign that I saw being held up showed a picture of Obama on one side, made up to look like the Joker, and that’s okay, we used to do that kind of stuff with Bush when he was in power. It’s part of the American right to free speech. But on the other side of that sign, there wre no pictures, just the words ‘KILL THE BEAST.’ I saw that and knew there was no reasoning with these people. I left then. I couldn’t sleep for two days after that”
It’s a shame that freedom of speech includes the right to openly campaign for assassination.
On the website called “Standing on the Side of Love”, I read a blog entry of a guy who read about the congressman whose parking space was sprayed with a swastika in a possible attempt to intimidate him into turning his back on supporting meaningful reform in this country. The blogger took a bouquet of flowers to the congressman’s office with a note thanking him for standing on the side of love when faced with threats and anger. It’s a good website, with some loving voices of reason. If you want to read that blog or join with those Standing On the Side of Love, you can click on this link: http://www.standingonthesideoflove.org/ to find out more.
Since reading that blog, I’ve been trying to think of ways to live up to the accusation that a right wing zealot once made toward me. He accused me, during the Gulf War, of being a “Peace Monger”. I like it. (The other best attempted epithet that I’ve enjoyed as much was “Porcupine Head”, yelled at me by a kid who was mad at me. I had just gotten my hair cut and I had hair glue in it, which did give it a spikey porcupine look and a spikey porcupine feel.)
This week I plan on calling 866-279-5474 to let my representatives know that healthcare reform is essential to keep our country healthy.
In church on Sunday, a doctor friend of mine led the service and had some really good insights into what HealthCare means. It means that the doctor (or the doctor’s representative) needs to take the time to listen and ask questions and motivate and educate their patients. The current system of commercial insurance economics driven medical system is not healthy healthcare. I believe that healthcare reform would help move toward a better system to nurture health, including prevention, research and improved services.