Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Live at the in Reston, VA Town Hall

Lots of strong feelings here, at this town hall, hosted by Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA), with a special guest, Howard Dean. And a few zanies, too, including this avowed Lyndon LaRouche supporter, pictured above--note the lettering on his sign.

This high school gym is packed, this gym holds 2500 seated, and more standing. And there are still long lines outside. Obama supporters appeared to outnumber opponents--lots of "Yes We Can" chants earlier. But when Moran and Dean walked in, the boos seemed to run about even with the cheers.

Moran is starting out strong. A rabbi gave the invocation, and then a Boy Scout led the Pledge of Allegiance, giving the event the sort of proper solemnity that any civic function should have. But of course, politics and culture always insert themselves--as the Scout led the pledge, conservatives shouted out, extra loud, the words "UNDER GOD," while a few liberals, put their emphasis on "FOR ALL" at the end of the pledge.

Of course, it's different elsewhere in the country. In Arkansas, Razorbacks oppose Obamacare by more than 2:1.

Most trenchant sign here in Reston: "Hurt 100% to 'Help' 5%."

1 comment:

  1. My wife and I attended Congressman Jim Moran's town hall last night in Reston and were gratified to see a huge turn out of people supporting health care reform AND the public option. Out of 2500 people (the official filled to capacity number), perhaps 200 were identifiably negative, and a smaller number yet came only to disrupt, not to discuss or to listen. The police took 5 or 6 of the worst out of the gym, but allowed most to stay.
    40 or 50 booed the rabbi giving the opening invocation! Then, a hundred booed 3 Boy Scouts who led the pledge of allegiance to our flag.

    A couple of the opponents lied about their identity to replace those who had actually submitted questions.

    What is amazing about all of this was the terrific presentations by Cong. Moran and Gov. Dean and the several excellent--and difficult-- questions followed by serious, frank answers were all ignored by the media, including the Post for the most part.
    ONe woman asked about information collection, such as is done in France and put in a chip in a health ID card, and its use. DR. Dean acknowledged that the answer is a long way from decided because, while having accessible information about everyone for medical practicioners in emergencies, how can that info be safeguarded and not be accessible by corporations or the government, for example.
    Cong. Moran was asked 3 times--after explaining the answer in his opening remarks--if he would put himself and his family under the insurance plans covered by the reform. Each time his answer was an unequivocal YES (he is covered by the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program, just as all federal employees and retirees such as myself are). 10 or 15 of the crazies in the crowd each time shouted, "LIAR!" And, so it went as Cong. Moran and Gov. Dean offered information based on the written draft law passed in the House of Reps and answers to audience questions from opponents and supporters alike. Trying to share information with right-wing animals proved very difficult. Lots of other folks who attended actually learned a great deal from well-presented information!
    John Lovaas