Trying to raise my kids the best I can

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Exciting Town Hall Meeting on HealthCare

The healthcare debate is heating up around the country. Today my congresswoman, Niki Tsongas had a town hall meeting. It was originally planned for a little gathering at the supermarket. Ha! She quickly realized her mistake and rearranged it to be at town hall. About a thousand people showed up. Not everyone was let in though. By the time I got there the meeting was underway already. I was glad I wasn't in the meeting though. The real action was outside. A lot of people had signs. I would estimate the crowd was evenly split, for and against. People talked. People debated. Some like me, just wandered around and observed. Some oponants sang opera style. Some for public option sang "this land is your land". Two old ladies sang "We shall overcome" really loudly and obnoxiously. But I just found it amusing. One man had a huge poster of Obama with a Hitler moustache. He was trying to infer that the public option would insite euthenasia. This, of course, is completely not true. But those opposed are very misinformed. Some guy saw the Hitler connotation and didn't get the message- just assumed it was some sort of racist, KKK, theme. He yelled out, above the crowd at the man with the poster: "BIGOT!! BIGOT!!". I laughed.

I was surprised at the number of people against this bill and their passion. It occured to me that my side is motivated by three things: compassion for the uninsured, and sadness and anger over the current state of things. The other side is motivated by one thing, and one thing only: fear. They've been fed all these lies. Like, "we can't afford this". And "this will cause euthenasia" and "this will cause wait times and rationed health care" and "health care in countries with universal coverage is awful". Lies. (I'll discuss any of these points in more detail if any of my readers would like). But fear is the most powerful motivator. And so this political battle will be hard fought. We have to break down each fear and disprove it for them.

I went to pick up my 12 year old because I didn't want him to miss all the excitement at noon when the meeting let out. As I walked back to the crowd I ran into a WBZ radio reporter and I got interviewed!!! I was so happy for the opportunity to summarize the public option succinctly.

I said something like this "I'm Deena Sao of Lowell, Mass. "

Reporter: "How do you spell that last name?

Me: S-A-O. I'm married to a Cambodian- said, under my breath-because the reporter looked S.E. Asian herself.

Reporter: Are you for or against it?

Me: I'm for the public option. Insurance companies are raking in billions of dollars in profits. The public option is actually captalism at its finest! Mass health, for instance, has four non-profit insurance companies that compete for business: Network health, neighborhood health, and some others.

(The reporter asked if I had insurance). Yes. I have mass health right now. And I'm very happy with it. And I'm a nurse. And some day I'm going to have a job and be able to provide health insurance for my family. But until then, I'm grateful for the coverage for me and my children.

The reporter: You daughter wants to say something. How many kids do you have?

Me: ha ha. Yes, my one year old is trying to play with the microphone. I have four kids.

The Reporter: I think she said something about kids having coverage.

Me: Yes, it's very important for kids to have coverage. And adults too. It's not right for sick adults to go without care.

The reporter: Thank you....

So then, it was back to the rally where people were streaming out of the town hall meeting. People were chanting: "No Public Option" and others were chanting "Health Care for all". I lead the "health care for all" pretty much til everyone had come out. Towards the end the other women were saying "No public option" over and over so I just stopped and the young man next to me started saying funny stuff like "Yes, protect the health insurance companies!" and "why should I care about other human beings". He had me cracking up, literally.

Niki Tsongas made her way out the other door far from the crowd, which I thought was pretty lame. If I were her I would have addressed the crowd and given a heartfelt speech, roused the supporters and eased the concerns of the opponants. But my day in political office hasn't come yet.

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