T(ow!)n Hall

Tonight I went to one of those town hall meetings regarding health care that everyone’s been hearing about.

The first I heard about them was from conservative media, who said “the left” was trying to silence opponents of President Obama’s health care reform bill. Then I heard the same from “the left.”

Naturally, I’ve heard a lot more accusations that the right was trying to silence the left just because the media, as a whole, supports the ideology of the left. The left’s ideas speak to the very principals journalists are passionate about.

Anyway, I’m not concerned about the specifics of health care reform. Don’t care one bit. Life’s going to go on, I’m always going to be a survivor who does whatever it takes to sure his loved ones are taken care of and I’m pretty certain I’m always going to get the shaft from the government. Become knowledgeable of what’s going on in the world, but don’t let it affect your attitude in the process.

This will detract from the quality of your life, which defeats the purpose of living whatsoever.

This brings me to the things I took from this town hall meeting.

For starters, where was the other side? It was hosted by supporters of the reformation act (pleasantly dubbed “Obamacare”), so naturally they pumped the heads of everyone in attendance with the advantages. In particular, the large number of people living in the United States it would help. However, this was the only side anyone heard.

The audience, you see, was overwhelmingly opponents. Specifically, old men and women who were white. The money they had stowed away in their bank accounts pretty much glistened with every word of their rebuttals to the panel.

Where were young people? Where were black people? Where were the uninsured, the single parents, the people whose medical care consists of emergency room visits when there’s puss oozing out of a five-day old gash on their leg?

Oh, that’s right – there’s a little bit more to their lives than driving the ol’ Silverado down to the local community college for a debate.

Inability to relate. More than once when hearing from opponents of the reform plan – both on TV and at tonight’s meeting – I have been struck by conservatives inability to relate to people not like them. Instead, it seems to have always been about them and them alone.

They have this idea the uninsured are homeless bums who collect welfare. Not true. The uninsured are guys like me (although I do have insurance). Men who elect not to pay for insurance because they’re healthy and have no dependents. Men whose jobs don’t offer insurance. Men who aren’t bums, but pay their medical expenses out of pocket.

Even if they are homeless bums, do they not deserve to live? Some may say no because homeless bums – like all men – should look out for themselves instead of relying on others to do it for them. Guess what, guys … the reality of the situation is that statistics show these homeless bums are still costing everyone a lot of money. Since they don’t see the doctor regularly, they’re at great risk for dangerous medical conditions. When they have, say, a heart attack, they’re going to end up in the hospital, where they’ll most likely get thousands of dollars worth of medical treatment. Who’s going to pay for that? Not them.

Wouldn’t everyone rather pay for a couple hundred dollars per year of preventive medicine for the poor rather than forking over $10,000 to $50,000 for emergency treatment?

The only way to not pay for either is to ask hospitals and doctors not to treat sick people because they’re poor. And that sounds very undemocratic.

Fact is, if you look at life with only your needs in mind, you’re using tunnel vision to see things, which is the definition of narrow mindedness. Life isn’t just about you. It’s about all it entails, which includes everyone. Eight years ago, I would have said I’d be shocked if I came across a president who didn’t have the greater good of mankind as a whole in mind.

Then life introduced me to George W. Bush and practically nothing became shocking anymore.

Hostility. And I mean a lot of it. If there truly is an effort by liberals to silence conservatives going on, I’ve yet to witness it. Tonight it seemed just the opposite – these people in the audience of the town hall meeting didn’t sound interested in discussing things, judging by the tone they took or the points they applauded at. They were about shoving their ideas down people’s throats.

It would have taken a freaking maverick to speak out against their views. The word “intimidating” came to mind.

Partisan also comes to mind. President Obama has always made it clear universal health care was one of his priorities. Those who said they opposed it during his presidential campaign are the ones opposing it today – except they lost the election, so it’s time to step up their efforts.

I’ve gotten a sense these people are sore losers more than once. I shouldn’t be surprised they’ve taken this road.

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