Tag Archives: Healthcare

The Healthcare Reform Debate in Atlanta, With a Racial Update

by Guest Contributor (and regular commenter) Atlasien

UPDATE: There is a guy with a gun outside of Obama’s town hall. This shit is getting ridiculous. Gawker has details:

MSNBC just aired video of a man with a pistol strapped to his leg waiting for Barack Obama to arrive at a townhall in New Hampshire.

The man is carrying a sign that says, “It Is Time to Water the Tree of Liberty.” That’s a reference to a Thomas Jefferson quote: “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” It was a favorite slogan of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, who was wearing a T-shirt when he was arrested with a picture of Lincoln on the front and a tree dripping with blood on the back.

Now, this guy is carrying a legal weapon, says NBC News’ Ron Allen. The local chief of police has no objections. Open carriage of licensed handguns is legal in New Hampshire, and the man is standing on the private property of a nearby church (!) that has no problem with an armed man hanging around.

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I live in Georgia’s 4th District, and I just attended Representative Hank Johnson’s healthcare town hall meeting. The event drew thousands of people. Our group got there an hour early, but even with that lead time, there was obviously no chance of getting inside.

So we stood outside with signs: large, simple, direct, polite signs. We got some good attention and maybe some media coverage.

Judging from the signs in the incredibly long line, supporters of healthcare reform outnumbered opponents by a lot, maybe 4 to 1. The 4th District is majority African-American and overwhelmingly Democratic. It was almost a sure bet that many healthcare opponents drove into the district from much further away. I saw a lot of exurb county license plates in the parking lot.

There were a few weird screamers. Someone yelled “YOU’RE NAZIS” at us. Another man yelled “you want to send all our money to Kenya!” However, there were so many supporters that the really rude people never achieved critical mass, and the atmosphere outside remained calm.

There was heavy security, and apparently the rules for the town hall were very strict and carefully explained at the beginning. People who yelled or were disruptive would be escorted out. I can’t wait to read a summary to see how the town hall worked out.

It was certainly nothing like the mass chaos at the town hall in St. Louis that made national news. In this event, a black conservative named Kenneth Gladney claims to have been attacked and racially insulted by (black) SEIU union activists. Depending on your point of view, Gladney could be a a brave martyr or a scam artist… or perhaps just a regular person in the wrong place at the wrong time. It’s a difficult situation to get a hold on. Continue reading