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Health Care Reform, With A Few Tea-Baggers Thrown In. January 26, 2010

Posted by littlebangtheory in Politics and Society.
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I took advantage of my currently unemployed status to attend a noontime rally in Northampton in support of “health care reform.”

As a bit of an aside, who in their right mind plans these things when most people are required to be at work??  If we want to appeal to the common person, we’d best straighten this shit out.

As another aside, be forewarned (if you didn’t just notice the clue) that this ain’t gonna be nothin’ nice.

I got there just in time for the start, signed a mailing list, then held a sign for a while, engaging in a couple of faux-outraged conversations with The Choir before getting antsy enough to pass my sign off to a neighbor (in kind of the Birkenstocked version of, “Hold my beer and watch this”) and began to wander about with my camera.

I hope you’re awake enough to smell trouble brewing.

It was my impression from the “invitation” that the host of the event, Pat F. (who didn’t choose the time, but rather worked with the outline which was suggested,) had a permit for up to 100 attendees, though that’s just an assumption based on the wording of said invitation.  And we came pretty close to that, with a peeps-wad on one corner of the town’s main intersection and smaller droplets of representation on each of the other three corners:

Rescue Fido was there representing “Mad As Hell Doctors.com.”  Thanks, Fi.

Anyway, as these things are wont to go, we weren’t alone.  Among the pro-reformers were, shall we say, some of a “different persuasion:”

See that nice lady in the 1950s-Kitchen-Appliance-Turquoise slicker?

Well, I did.  And having not had the chance to meet Margaret Thatcher, I thought I’d take this opportunity to go talk to a woman with balls.

I mean, she was resolutely expressing her contrary opinion on our corner,  so I assumed she had balls, though I didn’t actually check.

Anyway, her sign said, “If the Mass. voters wanted a populist liberal agenda, Coakley would have been elected.” [I hope I have that quote exactly right, but know it’s close enough to convey the heart and soul of her message.]

“Your sign is interesting to me, what exactly do you mean by that?” I asked her.

She seemed startled, probably because nobody around her had reacted to her thus far.

“Oh, this is a direct quote from the HRC website!”  she enthused, puffing up a bit in premature triumph.

I stepped back and re-read it.

“Um, I don’t think so.  Not only haven’t I seen that said there, but it doesn’t sound at all like them.”

“Oh yes, it’s a direct quote, ” she insisted.

“Lady,” I pressed, “that’s either a mis-quote, or something taken entirely out of context.”

She fidgeted and got a little shifty-eyed.

“Well, the last part I added, but the rest was a direct quote!”

Bingo.

“So let’s get beyond the fact that you just lied to me and this isn’t a ‘direct quote from the HRC website.’  What were you implying here, that Obama and Coakley are “liberals?”

“Oh,” she enthused, “Obama is a Socialist!

“Lady, please!  He’s not a ‘Socialist,’ he’s not a ‘progressive,’ he’s not even a liberal – he’s a product of the University of Chicago, for God’s sake!”

Silence, and an uncomprehending blink.

“Do you know what that means?”

The sign dropped an inch, and through clenched teeth she said, “No.”

A chuckle from behind caught my attention; a couple of old hippies with “Health Care Reform Now!” signs had apparently overheard our exchange.

“Do you guys know what that means?”

“Oooh, yeah,” they replied in unison, eyes twinkling.

“It means, Lady,” I continued, “that he’s a product of the Milton Friedman school of economics!  Do you know what that means??”

The sign dropped two more inches.

“No,” she growled.

“Guys,” I asked The Hippies, “what does that mean?”

“It means,” one of them replied to the enthusiastic nods of his neighbor, “that he’s fully on board with concepts of supply-side economics, ‘free markets’ and trickle-down theory, all of which have been subsequently debunked by both scholars and history.”

I turned back to Ms. Kitchen Appliance 1956, whose sign was by now sitting on her boots.  I almost felt bad about the tear in her eye, but swallowed hard and pressed on.

“Lady,” I said, softly but resolutely, “you don’t know what you’re talking about.  And I resent the fact that you come here, ignorant as a toilet seat, and publicly push your poorly thought out agenda on the general public.  I’d be amused if it were just a matter of watching you screw yourself as a result of your abject stupidity, but in the process, you’re screwing me and my children, and I am not amused!

I left it at that, not wanting to see a grown-up cry, and went across the street to where another woman was holding this:

I won’t bore you with the details of this exchange, which was considerably more to the point, due to the approaching 1pm wrap-up time.  Suffice it to say that both of these Good Americans vanished from the public square as soon as they were confronted with their willful ignorance.

Now, let me make this clear: I worship at the feet of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America.  It does the dual duties of allowing Truth to be spoken to Power, and simultaneously allowing shat-in intellectual laundry to be hung out in the light of day for all to see, evaluate, and publicly denounce.  It’s not my intention to stifle speech, but rather to scream “BULLSHIT!” when it’s bullshit.

A year or so ago I tried to build bridges to people on “The Right,”  looking for common ground, scratching for small points of agreement.  That effort nearly killed me, the Sisyphean task of building bridges to a place which is intent on tearing down your abutments.  So I’m done with that, setting out instead on a course of screaming “BULLSHIT!” whenever I encounter said intellectual excrement.

And it’s no more “Mr. Nice Guy,” either.  I spent the first forty-five years of my life being a soft-spoken “nice guy,” and all it got me was fucked up the ass by stupid people who fought hard for their misguided points of view.

So, people, here’s the take-home message:

…restated as, “Grow a spine!”  and quit being so fucking polite.

Unless you’re enjoying being served your own ass on a platter, thanks to stupid people with fire in their bellies.

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Comments»

1. Paul in ABQ - January 27, 2010

Oh, yes, yes, yes! Stupidity and lies need to be exposed for what they are. Thank you for having the fortitude to confront them. Would there were ten thousand of you out there.

Rest well. A good day’s work, even if not remunerated financially.

2. littlebangtheory - January 27, 2010

Thanks, Paul.

And there are many more than ten thousand of me out there. Our job is to disabuse them of the notion that being polite will get them anything but screwed.

3. bobbie - January 27, 2010

YEA !!!

4. sherry - January 27, 2010

hooray!!! you are a hero, thank you. i couldn’t have begun to put it as well as you did with that lady.

5. littlebangtheory - January 27, 2010

Thanks, Ladies.

“Hero” is a word I’ll reserve for the likes of Pete Seeger. I’d rather like to think that we ALL have spines, and every one of us can stand up to the ignorance and, sometimes, stupidity which gets tossed around as the points-of-view of the Radical Reicht, i.e., the Tea Baggers and Birthers and Ditto-Heads.

We just have to get out there and DO IT.

6. susan - January 28, 2010

I’m proud of you. Wish I’d been there.

7. littlebangtheory - January 28, 2010

Make your own damned rally!

😉

But seriously, we need more of these, preferably on Saturdays when we brown-collar workers can stand up and be counted!

8. Tengrain - February 1, 2010

Well done, CR.

I have not run into a teabagger yet here in SF. But during the lead-up to the Iraq war, I got in your face with a lot of the same sort of stuupid. I remember one guy telling me I was a communist for opposing bombing the people who didn’t attack us.

The stuuupid, it burns.

Regards,

Tengrain


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