I went out to my old congressional district today. There was a "townhall" type event at the King Super grocery store. Perhaps 200 people at any one time. If anyone posts a more thorough diary I'd be happy to take this one down or post in the comments and I'll cut and paste to the top.
Ed Pearlmutter only very recently came out in favor of a public option. His district runs the gamut of old time suburbs like Lakewood and Arvada to newly built exurbs like Brighton. There's also a large swath of rural Adams county.
I got there late, there was a huge detour around a "heaven fest" at a mega church on the way.
As I made my way into the crowd the atmosphere was more of a party atmosphere. I asked someone what the plan was and they said people were lined up to ask questions of the congressman. Seemed like a pretty good way to weed out those who really wished for information from those who had arrived just to make the scene.
On the other hand by only talking to constituants one on one the congressman probably had lots of duplication of effort.
If I had to estimate I'd say the crowd was probably split about 9 to 1 in favor of health care. Lots of printed signs off the OFA web site, other printed signs that looked similar to each other, perhaps the local Democratic party. Good turnout for a district that is evenly split.
The 10% anti health care types didn't seem to have much traction. Many seemed to be more anti Obama, or anti abortion, or anti Democrat.
One woman asked me if I was happy with "Obama Care" and I asked her what it was. I know she was reffering to the various bills for health insurance reform but I don't like others to frame the discussion with a name. I was wearing a small Obama button left over from the campaign. Some day soon I need to get a sign.
She continued to badger me with stock talking points very easily deflected with a big grin and a healthy dose of good natured humor. Two different times people argued with her, both of them interestingly Vietnam Veterans. I'll say one thing about those Vietnam vets, they sure aren't shy about standing up for what they believe. The woman was for sure a shouter, couln't talk in a normal voice
She said she was frustrated because nothing is being done to stop the socialism taking over our country. I suggested she call her congressman and she responded that she had but all she got was a recording or a staffer telling her that her veiws would be passed on. lol there I thought of the millions of calls I've made. Next I suggested she vote. She responded that she had but it hadn't done any good. Well that's democracy for you, more people vote one way and that's the way it is.
Her freind that was with her was on Medicaire, I asked her if she realized she was taking part in a socialist program. Some woman whipped out a notebook and started taking notes. One of the vets accused her of being a socialist, she claimed to have paid for it and I explained that actually I was paying for it. Took her a while to get that one. Then the vet and her husband started arguing loudly about whose branch of the service was manlier. Pretty funny all considered.
As I was leaving I noticed a few policemen and at the back five people from a Union. Four normal people and one guy with sunglasses that was about the size of two trucks. I chatted with him for a while mostly thanking him for showing up and asking about card check. Sure glad he's on our side.
If I had to think about what I'd do differently I guess I should buy an Obama shirt or carry a sign. My Obama 08 button isn't enough. Being visibly pro health care is probably a boost to fellow progressives and a damper on the nuttier of the antis. Anti what I'm still not sure of.
If anyone wants to call Ed Perlmutter and thank him for backing the public option his number in DC is 202.225.2645 I always like to thank folks when they join the team.
I'd encourage anyone interested to go to a "town hall". Nothing scary and by being overwhelmingly supporters the antis will be discouraged. Go to OFA and print a sign.