Town Halls

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Finally Throws Down The Gauntlet To Senate Republicans: Vote For The Paul Ryan Plan On Medicare!

A moment of reckoning is coming for the 47 Senate Republicans, who have been railing against Barack Obama’s Health Care plan!

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has finally shown some “cajones”, by deciding that there should be a roll call vote on the Paul Ryan House plan to make Medicare a voucher system in ten years, which gained the backing of 235 House Republicans!

Ever since then, the House Republicans are discovering in Town Halls in their congressional districts that the citizens are furious with them, and Paul Ryan himself in his Wisconsin House district has been subjected to booing and jeers and verbal challenges to defend his plan!

It will be interesting to see if any of the Senate Republicans abandon the Ryan plan, but in any case, those who vote for it, including those who face re-election contests in 2012, will be taking a big gamble, as the tides are turning against them, as the American people realize that the GOP cares not a whit for the welfare of senior citizens, young people, the unemployed, the sick, the handicapped, minorities, or labor, but only for the advancement of unbridled capitalism and the welfare of the corporations and the elite wealthy, who have destroyed the middle class and have no limit in their greed and selfishness!

So go ahead, Senate Republicans, vote and show your true colors to the nation!

Town Halls Turn Against Republican Budget Plan To Destroy Medicare As We Know It: A Reversal Of 2009-2010!

In 2009-2010, the Obama Health Care plan received belligerent responses in many Town Halls for Democratic members of Congress, leading to much controversy and many confrontations!

Now, the tables have been turned, and Republican members of Congress are discovering in Town Halls that their constituents do NOT want Medicare destroyed, which the Republican budget plan of Congressman Paul Ryan represents!

The problem is that 235 Republicans in the House of Representatives just voted a week ago to adopt the Ryan plan, and as many predicted, it is becoming an albatross around the necks of the Republicans, and could lead to a massive switch in seats again, putting the Democrats in control of the House of Representatives after the 2012 election results are in!

What the Republicans refuse to recognize is that the American people, by large margins, including Independents, Republicans, and even Tea Party Movement people, want Medicare preserved as it is!

It is not just the senior citizens of this nation who like Medicare; it is also their children! And also, the seniors are not just selfish for themselves, but really feel strongly that their children and grandchildren should be entitled to the same excellent health care represented by Medicare!

Yes, Medicare is expensive and has cost overruns! But the answer is not to change Medicare into a voucher system which will victimize future senior citizens, but instead to TAX appropriately, as every other Western industrial nation does, so that EVERYONE is entitled to excellent health care in the long run, not just the short run!

And it is time to TAX the WEALTHY and the CORPORATIONS, both of which have a responsibility to all of us for their good fortune, and must play their role in promoting the best health care available!

Town Hall Madness And Mean Spiritedness: The Death of Civility?

With Congress returning, the month of August Town Halls recedes into the past, and thank goodness for that, as it was NOT a great moment in American democracy.

The first thought would be: How can one say that, as we are hearing the “voice of the people” speaking to their representatives in the Congress?

I wish that was the case, but instead so often we have heard the lunatics, the extremists, the whackos, and those encouraged by the health insurance industry, and right wingers to disrupt, to scream and shout, to promote an image of madness and mean spiritedness, rather than have intelligent discussion. It is hard not to be embarrassed by the horrible display of outrageous behavior by men and women who either have no regard for others or just have an agenda to prevent any health care reform due to ulterior motives.

Two recent examples just add to the bad taste that the town halls left us in the past month.

One involved a large part of a town hall audience in New Jersey booing and jeering as a disabled, handicapped woman recounted her battle to pay her health care and the danger of losing her home, as a result. Watching a man comment that this woman had more rights than he did, and the overall lack of sympathy of the audience, made me weep symbolically for my country. Why have we witnessed such madness and mean spiritedness, and lost a sense of caring about those less fortunate among us?

The second town hall in Virginia, held by Senator Mark Warner, witnessed a citizen declare that President Obama was unpatriotic, to which Warner responded by defending the President, and saying that it was improper to label the leader of the nation with such a description. Warner said that would be wrong to say, as much about President Bush or any other President, as about Obama. The reaction of a large portion of the crowd was to boo and jeer Senator Warner, who still held his ground, and is to be praised for his courage.

We are living in a time when there is lack of civility growing all around us, and it presents us with a crisis that must be dealt with. Are we, in a time of economic crisis and insecurity, to turn Americans against other Americans, to lose respect for our government leadership, and to lose any concern about those among us who are less fortunate in whatever form? Are we to give in to the haters, the dividers, those who have no limits to exploit hard times, and promote a “jungle” atmosphere of “dog eat dog”?

Are we losing, as a nation, our dignity, our decency, and our human compassion? IF we are, we are in much deeper trouble than anyone yet realizes! 🙁

Barney Frank And Jerrold Nadler: Two Congressmen Telling It As It Is!

Congressmen Barney Frank of Massachusetts and Jerrold Nadler of New York are to be applauded for their reaction to the disruptive, mob like mentality of many attenders of Town Halls across the country.

Frank confronted a stupid woman who said health care plans of the Obama Administration made the President a “Hitler”, and that she was shocked that Frank would back Obama. How ridiculous, to say this to a gay Jewish man! So Frank let her have it, not acting like a gentleman, asking what planet she spent most of her time on! LOL

Nadler said that the loud mouthed, disruptive demonstrators at many town halls were facist like in their tactics, and to that, I say AMEN! Instead of having a serious discussion of health care, the purpose of many of these characters is to simply prevent any discussion, and destroy the purpose of the meetings. Widespread ignorance and prejudice has also been demonstrated, and Nadler rightfully condemned this mockery of public discourse.

I must say that I think Senator Arlen Specter, while trying to be gracious, should have been much stronger in his reaction to the insults visited upon him at several rallies in Pennsylvania in the past two weeks. The news channels showed it as it happened, and it was indeed a sad moment that we saw such disrespect for a public official, who no matter what you think of specific votes or statements by him over 30 years, deserved more respect and appreciation than he experienced.

It is important to have town halls and discussions, but only if there is order and respect by all sides. Sadly, that is lacking, and it will be a relief when Congress comes back into session after a very tumultuous August recess!

State Gun Laws And The President And Other Public Figures

It has been absolutely insane that wherever the President has traveled for Town Halls, we see the presence of ordinary citizens displaying guns in the area of his presence.

It may be that states in many cases allow the public display of weapons, including assault rifles, but it should be made clear that they are NOT acceptable at a public event or gathering of large numbers of citizens, such as a Town Hall, whether it is the President or even any other public official in attendance.

The presence of firearms promotes an atmosphere of intimidation and fear, and no state law should put a public official, and particularly the President, in a position where his security agents have to be on the defensive. This is states rights gone amuck.

We have a short memory. Considering all of the political assassinations of the 20th century of national political figures–including Huey Long, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy among others–and the shooting of such political figures as Theodore Roosevelt, George Wallace, Ronald Reagan–and the missed attempts against such leaders as Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and Gerald Ford–we should ban guns in public gatherings that include major government leaders.

No other democracy allows such freedom, and we need to learn that guns have their place, and that is NOT in a public gathering with major political leaders appearing.

President Obama And Town Halls In New Hampshire And Montana

Despite all of the controversy surrounding some of the town halls that have been held by Congressmen and Senators these past few weeks, it turns out that President Obama performed excellently at town halls in New Hampshire earlier this week and Montana today.

The crowd in both cases was pleasant and respectful, as should be, but there were definitely opponents in the crowd who seemed to be satisfied with Obama’s responses, even if they were not totally convinced. Obama invited challenges and questioning by critics, and it was done in a civil way.

Obama certainly made it clear that the charges leveled against the health care plan were myths, and he was strong in his assertions that the government was not out to promote socialized medicine. He repudiated all of the hysteria and panic that has been promoted by conservative and Republican and corporate opponents of any substantial reform in health care.

It is evident that the American people are concerned about changes in health care, but Obama, after having held back in the past couple of weeks in getting deeply involved in defending and explaining the plans for health care, has finally taken to the road and is actively promoting what he sees as essential action.

Despite a lot of doubts that remain about the effects of health care reform occurring, it seems to me that Obama is starting to change public opinion in what is likely one of the toughest battles he will face as President. The supporters of health care reform have to realize who the enemy is, and fight with courage and conviction!