It was an unhappy Arlen Specter who left the town-hall-style meeting in Lebanan, Pennsylvania this morning (Tuesday, 8/1/09). He did all he could to keep the meeting orderly: he had his staff rent a small auditorium at the Harrisburg Area Community College that seated 250 people, but over 1,000 showed up; he limited the questioners to the first 30 people who got in line, but most of those first 30 were mad as hell — not just about the president’s proposed healthcare legislation, which was supposed to be the sole focus of the meeting, but about the entire direction of the Obama Administration; he limited the meeting to 90 minutes and that made the angry crowd even angrier.
Comments flew from the crowd:
“This is about the dismantling of this country,” shouted a stay-at-home mother, “We don’t want this country to turn into Russia.” She was applauded!
“You are trampling on our Constitution!” yelled another man into Sen. Specter’s face. “One day,” he continued while being applauded, “God is going to stand before you, and he’s going to judge you!”
“It says plainly right there, they want to limit the type of care elderly can get,” shouted an office manager from the area, “They are talking about killing people.”
“This is the Soviet Union, this is Maoist China,” another man yelled, “The people in this room want their country back.”
Not all the comments were verbal: People showed up wearing American Flag t-shirts and carrying signs: “Hands Off My Healthcare” and outside, a red car drove around with a large sign saying “Retire Specter 2010.”
To make matters worse, some of the questioners had the actual wording of proposed healthcare legislation in their hands but when they asked specific questions all Sen. Specter could say was what he had been trained to say — he delivered ‘party lines’ such as: “If you like your insurance you can keep it;” “The public option is just that, an option;” “There are five proposed healthcare plans in the House and no final version; and similar approved slogans that fly in the face of all the evidence that suggests that the government is in the beginning stages of taking over the entire healthcare industry and, at some future date, wants all the health insurance companies out of the business of health care insurance.
An excerpt from a New York Times article tells of Senator Specter’s reaction after the meeting:
“He said he thought some of the objectors were genuine grassroots and some were organized, egged on by talk radio. He also noted that his office had sent out mailers notifying them of the event.
Still, he said these events had showed him that “there’s more anger in America today than at any time than I can remember.” He blamed the anger largely on the ailing economy and high unemployment.”
That one statement, that he blames the anger on the economy and unemployment, shows with perfect clarity that Senator Specter doesn’t get it! He apparently isn’t listening to the crowds! The anger is directed at a president and an administration that is attempting to hijack American democracy, destroy the free market and turn us all into residents of his personal Utopia — a Utopia that, to true Americans, resembles a gulog.
New York Times: Eruptions at Sen. Specter’s Town-Hall Meeting
PennLive.com: Lebanon Democrats applaud Specter