Last evening I watched Arlen Specter on C-SPAN hold one of his Town Hall meetings. It was an eye opener and a dispiriting event if this is a sample of how our representatives are holding meetings.
When I started watching the meeting, an irate man was ranting because he wasn't allowed to speak and wanted to leave. I assume that he didn't get a number and that is why he was furious. He was a big man and dwarfed Specter. The security people ushered him out.
This meeting was controlled by giving out numbers to those who wished to ask a question. Out of the 30 questions that I saw asked there was only one person who was for the health reform bill. She and her husband both work in the health industry and she seemed to be the only one knowledgeable about the need for reform. The rest of them were so obviously misinformed and used their time to make long speeches about everything from the cap and trade bill (opposed) to wanting term limits for Congressmen and Senators. Their ideology was so obvious that it was no surprise that they were adamantly against health care reform.
Their arguments ranged from one by a young woman on how she and her husband had children and couldn't afford the plan, to other people quoting lines in the Congressional plan that they interpreted wrongly. Specter kept saying that he wouldn't support a plan that didn't pay for itself. This went right over the head of this woman who kept on and asked what would pay for it when the money ran out. Specter was obviously unprepared on specifics in the bill from Congress and only corrected one person who spouted one of the rumors being put out by the insurance industry. It was one of the worst, and Specter angrily said, "That is a malicious, vicious rumor." Otherwise, he kept saying he would look into it. He did remind them that this was not the final bill.
Specter let some things go that I felt he should have corrected. One woman said the tax rate in Canada was 60% to pay for health care. No comment from Arlen. I know Arlen can't antagonize his base and didn't want to argue with them too often, but if this is how other Town Halls are going no minds will be changed. One person used his time to criticize Arlen for changing his party affiliation. He got loud applause. This wasn't a room full of Democrats.
This was a very heated crowd and their minds were made up before they entered the room. They applauded each and every incorrect statement and hooted and hollered during the whole time. This is why the polls show that the 'anti' crowd is winning the debate. Maybe we 'pros' need to become more vocal.
If reform is defeated it is because people are not understanding the consequences of doing nothing and are misinformed about what reform will really do to help them. Can't someone with a big megaphone call them out every time they repeat something that they heard on Fox TV?
Can't Obama tell the facts in simple terms that an eighth grader can understand? Is it possible to change any minds that are so closed?
IMPORTANT NOTICE: Nancy Leitz does not write a blog, but she often comments on blogs written by others. Nancy writes stories that can be found on Ronni Bennett's blog, TIME GOES BY. Another one of her stories will be published Friday the 14th in THE ELDER STORY TELLING PlACE. Please visit that site and read her story. I know you won't be disappointed. Here's the link: