Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Rob Andrews Town Hall in Glassboro, NJ

I was there.

Standing in line for two hours, listening to a barrage of unsourced generalized questions, rude yelling, and the spread of proven falsehoods. A few legitimate concerns got through, some really informed people showed up. Overall, however, this wasn't the tastiest slice of Americana.

After having my ears pierced by blood curdling screams of "NO ABORTIONS FOR MY BABY!!!" and "AMERICA IS THE GREATEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD!!! DURRHHH!!!!", it was my turn at the mic.

"Good evening, Congressman Andrews. My name is Matt Brinn, I'm 22 years old, and I'm from Folsom, NJ. You said earlier that this Healthcare bill would cost $1 trillion over the next ten years. How many people here showed up because they think that the cost is way too high?"

The flag-waving crowd goes wild. Obama supporters sit silently.

Wait for it...


..Wait for it


"Where the HELL were all of you when George W. Bush was wasting $3 trillion on the war in Iraq? How about when he gave $700 billion to the CEOs of the banks with no oversight?"

Stunned silence from the flag wavers, roars of approval from the Obama crowd.

"Sixty four percent of all bankruptcies are caused by medical bills. Congressman Andrews, I commend you for standing up in front of us today. I'm a recent college graduate, and I'm uninsured. I'm currently looking for a job, hence the suit, and more people agree with you than are represented here. Thank you."

As I exited the building, I counted four high fives.

UPDATE: I made the Courier Post. Page 2 of the article says:

"And Matt Brinn, 22, of Folsom, turned the opponents' enthusiasm against them when he asked audience members to clap if they objected to the cost of reform.

'Where the hell were all of you when George W. Bush spent $3 trillion on Iraq,' snapped Brinn, drawing a fresh round of cheers from reform supporters."


Anonymous said...

All I can really say is, that's AWESOME.

Piponacci said...

I spoke to the Congressman a few minutes after you and I told him where all the Republicans where when Bush was spending money on the war (which unlike gov run HC is allowed by the constitution and was backed by nearly all Democrats with a foundation in the Clinton admin's own research). I told the Congressman that we stopped immigration reform (Amnesty for illegals) dead in it's tracks. We stood up against the leaders of our party and did something when they were wrong. We ridiculed Bush for "abandoning free market principles to save the free market". We were the reason why his poll numbers were so low among Conservatives. Unlike you Socialists, We are people of principle and we stand up when we see government encroaching on our freedoms even against our own party. So I ask you... Where the hell are you right now when the your party IS trampling on our constitution? Don't wait for your community leaders to tell you what to do, DO IT YOURSELF.

Here's an example: Did you know the SEIU, who Obama credits for helping to write HR 3200, claims to have 2 million members, some without health insurance. They boast that they have a staff of 400 dedicated to supporting passage of the government option and they have spent 10 million in pursuing this cause.

You mean to tell me these these leaches can't utilize 400 people and 10 million in capital to provide a health care plan for their uninsured?

They spent all of this time & money to extort it from us? These people claim to be so smart, why can't they do anything on their own? Why is every solution to a problem more government control?

Piponacci said...

PS: Don't justify your failures by comparing it to the failures of others. That's not a sound argument. To say that you fail just a little less is still not a success.

Melissa said...


I definitely want to give you props for showing up there and presenting a different face of the uninsured American.

I definitely think you should have said something different.

But we've been over this :P

BurningSky said...

to Piponacci:

Thank you for your passionate and well-sourced response. I disagree with you for a number of reasons.

First, the war in Iraq IS unconstitutional. Only Congress has the constitutional authority to declare war, so, technically, we've been fighting for six years without an official declaration. The reason it was backed by Democrats in Congress was because it was started on false pretenses dreamed up by the Bush Administration. Read Against All Enemies by Richard A. Clark. He was in charge of America's counterterrorism operations from Reagan to George W. Bush, and it was he who warned him, over and over, that he should prepare for attack. Clark later resigned because, after repeated attempts to convince the administration to remain focused on Afghanistan, they went to Iraq anyway.

Second, I'd appreciate it if your side would stop using the word Socialist as a buzz word. Most of you have no idea what it means. We are not calling for a Marxist overthrow of the bourgeoisie. Have you read the Communist Manifesto? If you have, awesome. I highly doubt most of the other people at last night's town hall have.

Third, and this is the crux of my argument in favor of health care reform, unbridled capitalism leads to monopoly, and monopoly leads to the exploitation of consumers. At the end of the Reconstruction era, we are talking 1877 or thereabouts, America entered a time known as the Guilded Age. It was during this time that the idea of Social Darwinism, that the white race was genetically superior to others, that the poor were poor because they were lazy, came about. Read Herbert Spencer's Principles of Biology. The market's Invisible Hand paid unlivable wages, forced employees to work 24 hour shifts in dangerous conditions, forced orphans into child labor, and merged corporations into unstoppable monopolies. Attempts to unionize were quelled with physical violence. All of this was done to increase profits. THAT is the Capitalism that people are screaming about at these Town Halls, and THAT is the Capitalism that has led to the monopolization of the health insurance industry, allowing those at the top to raise prices to whatever they want, ultimately RATIONING health care so that only the rich and upper middle classes can afford it.

This healthcare bill might not be perfect legislation. It won't magically fix the cluster fuck that is the American Healthcare system. But something needs to be done, and it needs to be done NOW.