Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Town Hall meeting

OLEAN, Sunday August 16

I went to the Eric Massa town hall meeting in Olean on Sunday night and then sent this Email to 6 people. On Monday, at the meeting with Senator Gillibrand I learned that my Email traveled to several other inboxes so I'm sending it to a few more.

It was exhausting.
In part it was bad because Eric let people go on and on. When I left I talked with some staffers to say that it might be better if he would give people 2 minutes to pose a question and let them come back a second time if there is time left. (A later Email from Eric said that he will continue to listen to every person's every word and try to understand them all.)

One guy wanted the government out of health care but he also wants the government to tell all insurance companies that they must become non profit. He doesn't want them to be not for profit because the profit motive is important but they should be non profit.

Another man said that money for women's health matters means for abortions because women are fornicators and abortions are the only women's health issue that there is. He wasn't the worst one but he said he was a retired doctor and that he knew what women are really like.

People railed against the left's plan to turn us into a socialist nation. Eric said that under socialism patients have no right to choose their doctor, doctors don't get to choose hospitals and there's someone else dictating what procedures would be allowed. That, he said, is what veterans face. Eric is on the veteran's insurance plan and refused to take the golden plan offered to all congressional members. He won't take it until all his constituents are covered by insurance. He also introduced an amendment that was accepted into the bill that would require congressmen and senators to be on the insurance plan created by whatever bill is passed.

I think that most of them were angry that they lost the election. I think the angry people at this meeting get their information from one or two right wing voices who enjoy manipulating people.

They would say that page such and such of the bill said this and that and Eric would turn to the page and read it to them and they would say he was lying. There were claims that the bill allows for the government to have full access to everyone's checking account when it actually says that it allows for e payments. Is that full access? They said that if the provision for an end of life directive wasn't about requiring death panels then it wouldn't have been rescinded.

Eric was patient and polite. He several times pointed out inconsistencies in the questions and demands put by an individual such as the person with the non profit/not for profit business but was repeatedly told that he was lying. He'd offer them the pages and insist he read the words on that page and they'd say, "Liar."

'there was yelling and booing. People would say they read the real bill on the internet.

He'd say that he really couldn't help them more than that and that he had to move on but I wished he'd said that more often.

I felt that the hall had about 1/3 mean spirited, nasty, loud people and 2/3 people interested in discussion. One man said that he knew he was speaking for 90% of the people in the hall and another woman said that he had no right to claim to know her feelings which differed sharply. That woman was great. Lisa someone.

One woman said she was being laid off and losing her health care but that she didn't want a public option,she wanted a job with health care. A public option wouldn't help her at all.

The air was full of anger and hatred. It was truly an awful place to be.

I was there with a supportive friend or I'd have sat in the car and sobbed afterward. We stayed for 3 hours. The meeting went on for 4 1/2 hours. The selfishness of the people speaking at the meeting who have insurance was astounding.

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