Well, we tried. Susie and I set out yesterday evening for North Carolina Central University to attend David Price's Town Hall Meeting on health care. Driving into the wilds of Durham, NC is, for me, much like going to Worcester, MA. I ALWAYS get lost. But I charted a course, fired up my GPS unit, and with some u-turns and such, managed to find our way there. No sooner had we parked than a couple in a car stopped to tell us that the meeting had been moved to a larger hall. Back we went, and very soon found ourselves at the end of a seemingly infinite line of traffic. It looked very much like a UNC basketball game or a rock concert. As we approached the new venue, we saw a long line snaking out of the building [this was forty-five minutes before the scheduled start of the meeting.] Planted across the street were a few authentic crazies, with a large hand-painted American flag and a hand lettered sign [which I never quite managed to read]. We spent the next fifteen minutes circling fruitlessly looking for a place to park, getting ever farther from the event itself. Finally, I decided that we were too far from the hall for Susie to be able to walk it comfortably [she suffers from MS], and it was doubtful that we could actually have gotten into the meeting, considering the size of the crowd, so we went off in search of dinner. At this point, the minatory lady inside the GPS unit issued a series of impossible commands that guided us to the end of a cul-de-sac, but with several re-programmings, we managed to find our way to Ninth Steet, the one-block long Durham simulacrum of Greenwich Village, and there we had a passable meal at Vin Rouge.
When we got home, I checked the reports on line. There were some attempts at disruption by the Republican thugs, but it would seem that the meeting was largely supportive of Price, who is a liberal Democrat. One anti was quoted as complaining that the pro-reform forces had been given advance warning of the meeting, so that we could pack it. That bit of news cheered me considerably, since it suggests that the Democrats are starting to use common sense, always in short supply on the left.
On Monday, I shall venture into Raleigh to hand-deliver a statement to Senator Kay Hagen's office. This is part of an effort by Organizing For America to flood her office with written personal statements, as a way of stiffening her spine and making sure that she does not once again flip-flop on the Public Option. It isn't much, but if twenty million of us do it, it will turn this thing around.
One final mean-spirited thought. It was reported that at the Price Town Hall Meeting, a woman got up and asked, "What right have you to force me to have health insurance if I don't want it? Where in the Constitution does it say that?" Price replied that if she got sick, we would all have to pay for her care. I have to confess that I dearly wanted to wait until she did get sick, and then bar the door to the hospital Emergency Room when she showed up, reminding her that she had, as a matter of principle, refused to buy insurance. I know, I know. You can't do that. It wouldn't be humane. But still ....