Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Report on the Town Hall Meeting
The town hall meeting this evening was held in a stadium. At least 2000 people showed up. Rep. Adam Smith was very good and moderated the crowd's emotions on both sides, explaining that if the event got out of hand no one would hear any answers and we would all have wasted three hours of our time. So there were very few outbursts, even when someone held up a poster showing Obama with a Hitlerian mustache. (I really wanted to say something at that point, but was a good girl and held my tongue, as I did when I left the event and saw the same poster offered for sale... Grrrr....)
When Rep. Smith was asked, point blank, whether he will vote yes on the bill (as it stands now) in one month, and he said, "No, I won't," the anti-Obama people roared with approval (because Rep Smith was the first representative in WA to support Obama for Prez). But then he said, "But saying this is misleading because I can assure you that the three bills presently before the Congress will not look the same in a month as they do right now."
So my thought was, "Then why are we all here?" If we haven't even seen the final bill that'll come before Congress, it's pretty goofy to claim we're for or against it... and I'm sorry I wasted several hours reading the behemoth bill that I read!
In theory, BOTH sides are for some sort of health reform. Rep Smith is for a public option (as I am) but thinks the long bill has too much in it that isn't even germane to health care reform and should come out of it.
I respect his candor and his willingness to stand before 2000 passionate people to listen to concerns. He was very good at that. He was able to squelch some of the rumors about the bill, as well.
The questions seemed to be mostly statements of belief for or against, bolstered by personal anecdotes. A few were off the wall, but most were thoughtful and well-stated.
All in all, it was a productive gathering, I think.., but now I want to find out what the "reconciled" final bill will look like before I go wildly ga ga over it, or not.
If it's going to be a wimpy bill, I'll be ticked. It will actually have to accomplish something worthwhile for me to really get behind it.