This morning I strolled my baby down the street to Pete Stark's (D, CA-13) Healthcare Townhall. I was warned to show up early, at least 8:30 AM, since the place was bound to be filled up early. Well it's hard to do anything early with a baby, so we ended up showing up at 9:00 AM. The place was totally packed and there was no room inside. Baby and I decided to hang out in line out front for the whole thing, and show our support. I had printed a couple of slogans I thought of just this morning:
"If 18,000 Americans died every year from no insurance, would they make a sound?"
"Who Would Jesus Heal?"
There were a couple hundred people there, I would estimate. I'm not sure if the pro-reform activists outnumbered the anti-reformers, but it was obvious that the anti-reformists are much louder. The pro-reformers are armed with better information of course, but unless we get louder and more organized, I'm afraid we won't get much media coverage. Since perceptions in our society are pretty much based on who gets on TV, I'm a little worried about the strength of our movement. Videos below the fold.
I didn't arrive early enough to get a spot inside Pete Stark's (D, CA-13) Healthcare Townhall, so I stayed in the line on the outside almost the whole time. This was my view of the people who were lined up outside the Fremont Senior Center, pro- and anti-reform.
A few very vocal Born-Again Christians told us how we were all going to die and go to hell. I did ask sandwich-board guy, "Who would Jesus Heal?", and he said we would all be healed if we accepted Jesus as our Savior; otherwise we burn in hell. So I guess that's the alternative to Obama's plan.
This guy kept telling us how we're all going to hell. No word on the health insurance executives' fates.
The sandwich board guy had a philosophical discussion with a Christian lady, who, you know, actually follows Jesus' principles of healing all the poor sick people. Sorry I didn't catch more of her voice in the audio.
This van kept going in circles, and a lady shouted out how were all sinners and need to repent. Not sure what this has to do with healthcare, but whatever floats her boat. Eventually the cops gave the van a ticket.
We had pro-reformers leading some chanting, which a few people outside participated in, but I did think it was rather half-hearted and I swear I felt like one of the only ones following along. The guy in a suit is one of Pete's staffers who solicited our comments on cards he was passing out, since there wasn't any room for us inside.
I brought my one year old daughter, Sarah. She was so patient for the whole thing, and I'm so proud of her first democratic experience. What a good baby! I'm doing this so her future will be more secure.
A nice gentleman I met in line named Ramesh offered to take a video of us together. This is the first time we've been in a video together. Sarah turns one year old in two days. Yay for my little activist!
All the anti-refomers gathered near the door as everyone inside filed out. The chanting was loud and I felt obligated to pipe up and chant on my own. I felt pretty overwhelmed but at least I was doing something. Pro-reform advocates might outnumber those against, but they aren't that enthusiastic in comparison. It's a shame.