Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Senator goes face to face with dissent

Senator Arlen Specter left with his security detail after a town hall meeting in Lebanon, Pa.

I give Specter credit for little, but give him great credit for doing this: facing loud-mouths, allowing people to voice their opinions, and trying to conduct a town-hall meeting despite raucous disruptions.

Many said the Obama administration’s plans for a new health care system were just another example of a federal government that had again gone too far, just as it had, they said, with the economic stimulus, the auto industry bailout and the cap-and-trade program.

What if the government hadn't intervened? What if it allowed the recession to deepen, allowed the car industry to implode and be taken over by foreign firms?

“This is about the dismantling of this country,” Katy Abram, 35, shouted at Mr. Specter, drawing one of the most prolonged rounds of applause. “We don’t want this country to turn into Russia.”

Russia is a capitalist nation. Autocratic, but capitalist.

Ms. Abram described herself as a stay-at-home mother from Lebanon, and in many ways she was representative of the almost entirely white and irritable crowd, most of whom were from the area. Based on interviews with several dozen people who attended, it appeared that about 80 percent of those who showed up opposed the planned changes to the health care system.

Does she cling to her guns? White and irritable.

Anger at a Town Hall Meeting

This guy condemned Senator Specter, and told him God would judge him in due time. What that has t do with health care reform perhaps only he knows.

It was the angriest people who got in line first.

And their anger, while intense, is not representative of general public sentiment.

The crowd was largely hostile to Mr. Specter, who was repeatedly booed and heckled as topics like health care, immigration, government spending and the cap-and-trade program to control pollution were brought up. Many also expressed broad if unspecified disdain for the government and for President Obama.

Broad if unspecified disdain for government and the President: well, if they had the nerve to be politically incorrect rather than just angry, they might say the word black, the one they wish they could, but will not, say.

most of those who spoke Tuesday seemed unlikely to vote in the Democratic primary. Many seemed concerned about issues that are either not in the health care legislation or are peripheral to the debate in Washington — abortion, euthanasia, coverage of immigrants, privacy.

Abortion is not part of the health care bills being offered, and euthanasia is not part of any bill up for consideration: it is a word bandied about as a scare tactic to rile people. Immigrants? A flase target.

“It says plainly right there they want to limit the type of care elderly can get,” said Laurel Tobias, an office manager from Lebanon, referring to a bill in the House. “They are talking about killing people.”

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