A Tale of Two Town Hall Meetings
At least two of Washington’s Democratic Congressmen were scheduled to hold town hall meetings over the past few days. They each had their own method for dealing with large, possibly loud and unruly crowds of protesters.
Rep. Rick Larson had a town hall meeting scheduled at a fire hall. Anticipating large crowds, he changed his plans and held the meeting at a baseball stadium instead. That’s the spirit. He showed that good old American ingenuity, and he got out there and faced the music. (H/T to Demeur.)
Rep. Norm Dicks, whose district includes Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, had a somewhat, uh, “different” approach. With so many news reports about town hall meetings gone wild, he transformed his town hall meeting into a small invitation-only “listening session” at the Red Lion in Port Angeles, WA.
There was a demonstration outside the Red Lion while Dicks was huddling inside with his “listening session.” Funny story: a local Republican leader has been endlessly repeating the Party Line. You know the drill — these protesters are all acting on their own. There isn’t some sort of [sigh] big corporation or Astroturf group that’s [sheesh] “masterminding” [roll of the eyes] these demonstrations. Etc.
And yet, two days before Norm Dicks’ appearance in Port Angeles, this Republican leader predicted that there would be “about fifty” demonstrators near the Red Lion while Dicks was speaking inside. This is Amazing! This guy is wasting his incredible talent just being some sort of mid-level Republican operative. He could be making a fortune as one of those TV psychics. Apparently, he had a precognitive vision of fifty Port Angeles residents getting up on the morning of Friday, August 14th, boiling with anger at the thought of government bureaucrats regulating the insurance industry. Simultaneously each one of them would pick up an empty placard (since we all have a few of them lying around the house), quickly scrawl a slogan on it, and make a beeline for the Red Lion Inn.
I went to check out the demonstration. As far as I knew, there weren’t any counter-demonstrations planned. I was tempted to make my own sign with a few misspelled words and blend in with the anti-Obama crowd. Something like “ObamaCare is Socalism” or “Obama Wheres You’re Birth Certificit.”
Anyway, it turned out there WAS a counter-protest. Without any publicity — the local paper didn’t mention anything about it and most of the people there said they didn’t know about it — about thirty to thirty-five of us were there. The anti-Obama crowd didn’t have quite the “fifty” people that appeared in that guy’s Vision — I’d guess about forty people.
The demonstration was at a busy intersection along a one-way street. The traffic came to the “Anti” crowd first; we were across the street. After passing through the intersection, the traffic passed us. Even though we were slightly outnumbered by the “Anti” group, our group got a lot more honks and waves and thumbs-ups. I didn’t see any hostility toward either group during the time I was there — no middle fingers, cusswords, shouting matches, etc. But an awful lot of cars drove silently past the Anti-reform crowd, came through the intersection, and then when they saw our signs they honked and waved and cheered.
My “favorite” scene from the “Anti” crowd: a kid no more than ten or eleven held up a sign saying “I love my Grandpa. Don’t you dare put him to sleep.”
cross-posted at Bring It On!