THE BLOG
10/19/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

If We Get This Wrong...

This is a video of Bishop Alvarez being heckled by the anti-health care reformers:

Come one, come all to one of the wackiest public events in a venue near you, see adults behave badly, watch right wing puppets inhibit communication and listen to the hysteria generated by those who wish to sabotage the last of the summer Town Halls. Where others come to learn and hear what their Senators and Representatives have to say, what positions they are taking on one of the most important legislative issues of this young century, opposition comes disparage, belittle and to defeat political discourse, it's the new American way, and it isn't pretty.

"If we get this wrong, the results will be catastrophic." Said Democrat Jim Himes (CT-4th) at his September 2nd Town Hall on Health Care Reform in Norwalk, CT that was attended by 1,100 with standing room only, attendees had an opportunity to ask questions, give suggestions or voice concerns about the aspects of the House Bill, HR3200. Due to large crowds expected the site was moved several times before ending up at the Norwalk High School Auditorium. In the last days before Congress returns to Washington, Town Halls took place in each district in Connecticut this week. The request was for constructive and useful dialog, the outcome was way less meaningful.

Some came to listen to what the Congressman had to say while the not unexpected disruptive element showed that their first amendment rights are still strong even as they exhibited all that is ugly with the Tea Party platform of 'deny, defeat & denounce those of different opinions' with a voracious zeal. Two men sporting twisted black 44mm T-shirts (as in anti-Obama pro-gun 44 gauge shot) made sure they had front row seats in order to get the attention of the cameras. There was plenty of playing to the cameras by a few whose intent was to hijack the proceedings. One mention 'Public Option' and the noise level skyrocketed. So while Rep. Himes spoke about the economics of coverage of the 47 million who currently have no coverage, there were shouts of "Down with Himes." While he went through the costs and benefits, shouts of "Liar" could be heard. When physicians from the hospital spoke for the public option, some attendees stood in the aisles shouting over the speakers. To be fair, there was a large number from MoveOn.org, AARP and other more progressive groups that clapped over the shouting.

What will be catastrophic is if we continue as we are, with only those who are healthy, wealthy, employed with a really great insurance plan or with Medicare coverage reaping the benefits while the insurance companies and pharmaceutical firms post record profits. Himes believes every American child should have access to medical care and House Bill HR3200 would also help those unable to get coverage along with closing the Medicare drug cost Part D Donut Hole while helping hospitals and physicians with uncompensated costs.

Sitting next to an older man, clearly a conservative, each time Jim Himes would give an example of how Americans are effected by the lack of health insurance, he leaned over to his friend and said 'That's too high' or 'No it's not' until Himes mentioned the 18,000 or more Americans die each year because they had lacked access to affordable heath care. While he laughed at the impossibility, I let him know I had lost my 45 year old sister because she didn't have health insurance. What I didn't say was she waited until it was too late; entering the hospital in a coma from a Superbug and spent 5 weeks in ICU as they desperately tried every life saving measure until she passed away. The cost was more than the $500,000 in unreimbursed care the hospital bore; she left behind a family who unconditionally loved her. Or how I lost my mother when at age 64 she could not swallow, had surgery without insurance and died at 65 and ½, leaving her children and grandchildren without her love and guidance and her estate to pay the bills.

Blatant racism showed its ugly face when Bishop Alvarez of a local church asked to speak to Representative Himes in Spanish and the right wingers went nuts shouting and screaming for him to speak English. Their inner Archie Bunker showed with another trigger; illegal immigrants. As Himes spoke of how each insured American is already paying for the uninsured care by hidden charges in their health care premiums and the costs are only going up, opposition gave opportune shout outs of Marxism and Socialism, whatever.

There was a lack of civility and respect of others who shared their stories of surviving cancer and now unable to purchase any health insurance, for one man who spoke, high risk kept him from being hired. Or the newly graduated college student who has aged off her parents policy and can't find a job with benefits while she works for a non-profit without coverage. Or the small business owners who pay $27,000 a year for three employees. The male dominated white haired anti-everything contingent probably didn't really hear much of what was said, their mission was accomplished.

Apparently pre-planned interruptions included shouts of 'Tort reform,' hissing spontaneously each time taxes were mentioned and of course 'Death Panels,' name calling, outright booing, especially by a few blowhards who appeared to enjoy the attention they received by the press like a blood sport. But funny thing, when I went to interview them no one wanted to tell me their name or where they were from except one man whom I've sparred with on the local blog, www.westportnow.com. Uniformed PD entered the auditorium and the level of intensity simmered down, for at least for a few minutes. Two hours later, I doubt anyone's mind was changed or swayed one way or the other, I do know in spite of almost verbally abusive dissenters, they failed to rattle Himes.

Tea Party Express
Another abhorrent Tea Party Express event takes place at the CT State Capital building in Hartford, CT on September 11th, on what should be a day of remembrance and honoring the heroes, they have callously planned on promoting their vile rhetoric. Maybe Joe the unlicensed plumber will show up, one can only hope!