I asked if I could take his picture and engage in a little civil sparring. I took note of how he instantly snapped into the "look how cool I look standing next to this sign" pose and how it contrasted with the pictures I took of pro-healthcare demonstrators who invariably would shut their eyes at the moment the shutter opened or hold a flag in front of the sign with their message. I have another picture of a woman decked out in revolutionary war garb perfectly positioned under a "don't tread on me" flag next to the street entrance.
Someone has schooled these guys in how to pose for the camera.
I asked Mr. Cool why healthcare rationing by Aetna was better than health care rationing by the government.
"Because with government health rationing you don't have a choice"
I pointed out that we were at a meeting with our elected representative who was about to hear from people who were upset at his actions and ready to hold him accountable, and that if I was upset with the actions of the insurance company my employer uses, their executives would never hold such a meeting and if they did would tell me to go screw.
"But you don't have to use your employers insurance company. You can buy a policy from another. Granted, it may be expensive....."
"So we can agree that cost is a problem with the way things are"
"How do we fix that?"
"Make more money"
He was the most rational person on their side I could find my friends. Far more common were people like this:
Look how cranky that dude looks. And old. And how white. This town hall meeting was in a city with a Latino population of 64% and out of about 1,000 people there, that kid in the background was one of 8 Latinos I saw. Two of them were reporters.
The good news: The cranky old white demographic is not a majority of this country. The majority of white people are pleasant and/or young.
The bad news: The old cranky asses are LOUD! And man they are full of hate. I heard it all afternoon long. They'll vent their hate within earshot of me because I'm white as bleach myself. They hate black people, who are evidently on the verge of crippling our economy by pushing through reparations for slavery. Under the radar of all major news organizations apparently, but not of the nephew of one of the cranky asses, whose hard work uncovered the scheme "on some fact check site." They hate the Native Americans because their casinos make them rich. The descendants of the ones who survived the genocide that is. Some of them. And they really hate the illegal aliens who have the nerve to come here and take a job someone offers them cleaning toilets or picking lettuce or some other occupation the cranky-ass evidently would love to get into.
You know what cranky-ass? You hate the undocumented worker so much? Make a statement. Go clean a public toilet so the undocumented worker has no work to do.
I was starting to miss Mr. Cool.
When the time came for questions from those in attendance, our Congressman asked people who were for the health care reform legislation being considered in the House to form one line, and people against it to form another. I counted. There were 4 more people on the anti side, but they easily....easily....made 80% of the noise. The first person to speak from the anti side was a little old lady who said that she had both Tricare for life and Medicare "and I don't want you messing with either" whereupon the antis in the room broke out in applause in support of two giant government run healthcare programs.
Oh how I missed Mr. Cool and the fact that while he held a position that was very fucked up, at least had the advantage of being able to be supported by logic.
That's how the rest of the night went. Logic was nowhere to be found on their side, but Hitler was. One questioner and at least two protest signs mentioned Hitler.
To my friends on the other side of this issue I will say this. Please.....please.....please mention Hitler a lot. Seriously. It's a lot easier for me when you destroy your own credibility than when I do it for you. To everyone screaming shit about Hitler, a big, heartfelt, thank you.
And to the people there tonight screaming everything else, you have taught me a lesson. There were 4 fewer people in our line than yours. We are far too quiet. Lesson learned.
Help me make some noise my friends.