I am the big guy yelling and pointing with the flag in his pocket!
I went to the Russ Carnahan’s (D-MO 3rd District)Town Hall Meeting on Health Care and Aging at the Bernard Middle School in beautiful Mehlville Missouri tonight. It was more than I expected. What was setup as a multi guest, informational resource for seniors and those that care for them turned into a chaotic political showdown between partisan groups.
I got there about 5:45pm and was in a hurry because I had printed fliers to pass out to the many people in line to get in.
The flier said, “For 2500 years people have gathered and discussed issues that face their families, their communities and their nation. It is the bedrock of our living democracy. It is America! We gather here to continue this tradition in a civil and respectful manner. Efforts to disrupt and thwart public discourse are profoundly undemocratic and divide us when we desperately need unity! Please show the same respect for these proceedings you would show your family or your church.” It didn’t work.
I walked down the line and handed the people my flier while saying “any patriots here” or “any veterans here” or “hey you look like an American read this!” People quickly grabbed for my fliers and started reading. I knew those phrases would get the attention of the “teabaggers” and “astroturfers” that were as thick as flies. One old man didn’t like what the flier said and tried to get the cops to take away my fliers. The cops laughed.
There were some union and clean air people clustered around a side door and I went over and said introduced myself. They took our names, I took my mom who is a senior and an ardent progressive, and we got great seats. As the auditorium began to fill you could here the “teabaggers” warming up.
We sat down next to an older couple named Dan and Dot. Dan is a very well spoken and classy guy and we discussed some issues while we waited for the speakers to start. He didn’t really have any strong opinions but seemed to enjoy my answers to his questions. Realize I am SURROUNDED by “teabaggers” and they are listening to every word I say. Dot, is a sweet lady but the firebrand of the family. She balked at my “out of the box” analysis of Obama and Clinton, Defense spending and aggressive wars, health care and workplace issues-so did the “teabaggers” listening in. She really flipped when I explained that all Americans are socialists. It was a lot of fun. But the fun ended quickly.
It is important to note this was not a broad based health care town meeting. It was specifically about aging, resources for seniors, and related policy. The “teabaggers” would have none of it. Carnahan introduced the speakers and was booed. He gave me thumbs up, which was the highpoint of the night. One by one the speakers would come to the podium, one from AARP and one a regional federal Senoir Care official, and were greeted with applause for the Democrats and progressives and boos and chants from the “teabaggers”. As each speaker made points the “teabaggers” jeered and booed, stood up and turned their backs then sat back down, and called for Representative Carnahan to come to the podium.
That is when I got vocal. I know, I know I wasn’t supposed to lose my cool, but after about twenty minutes of this inexcusable and blatant disrespect and rudeness from this crowd of “teabaggers” I got up and yelled, “don’t you have the common decency and manners to let this man talk?” That actually caught them off guard and I got some applause. It was a short lived victory. They started chanting and individuals started approaching the podium demanding that Carnahan speak. I got up again and yelled, “sit down, sit down.” One lady jabbed me with her flag and another guy started whining about Carnahan not speaking. I did not take that well.
I am 6’4″ and 250 pounds, and not one to back down from ANYONE. I told the whiner to shut up, he didn’t run this meeting and he should wait for the Q&A session like an adult. I was then told by three male “teabaggers” sitting behind me to shut up or they would shut me up. My adrenal gland opened up. I emptied my pockets and was fully prepared to duke it out. After eight long and deadly years of the Right running this country into the ground I was not about to let those douchebags muscle me. And for them to try and hijack this meeting was making me go nuts. But reason prevailed and I got up and walked out. I had at least ten people slap my back and high five me on the way to the door.
I failed. I wasn’t able to live up to he flier I proudly passed out before the event.
I failed. I didn’t know how evil and rude and spiteful those people were.
I failed. But I did not harm anyone or break any laws.
I will not fail again.