Sunday, July 26, 2009

Health Care Rally in Austin

Went to the big health care rally on Saturday. [newspaper coverage here] It was organized by Texas Democratic organizations and featured State Sen. Kirk Watson, our beloved US Rep. Lloyd Doggett (one of the most liberal members of Congress), new Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell and others. Pictured above in the cowboy hat is one of the top organizers for Texans For Obama. They held it at the AFL/CIO building (so were fortunately in the A/C during these persistent +100° temps) Doggett made a late entrance to a filled room, so he got thunderous applause.

click to enlargeThe room was packed. Each speaker talked about the awful statistics we are faced with, the number of uninsured, the rising costs, the horror stories, the misperceptions out there (Doggett, for example, mentioned the elderly woman who told him how much she opposed government involvement in health care, then thanked him for helping her with a Medicare problem! People don't get it!) and above all, the need to do something.

There was a lot of vocal support in the room for single-payer, including our Mayor. Personally, I prefer that route, I'm a lefty and not a centrist, I do not want health care coverage to be related to employment status at all, but I realize that there is plainly not enough popular support for that radical a change in this country and it will not happen yet. Too many people are raking in the bucks... corporations and medical organizations, pharma, insurance, physicians. They are against change because it will affect their level of wealth, at least that's what they think. In reality, with costs rising like they are, it will end up having a negative impact on them too.

The (pro-reform) rally drew several times the number of people expected, and somebody called the Fire Marshall for overcrowding, (probably a tea bagger, but that's OK, you gotta stay safe) and we left after Watson, Doggett and Leffingwell spoke although there were more speakers to come.

Outside the building along the sides of the streets, there were gatherings of protesters. Most of the tea party group were on the other side of the street. They were chanting and yelling things like "It's not free!!" and "I don't want to pay for your health care!!" These are not just Republicans, they are also Libertarian types, and frankly they don't give a damn if the less fortunate people just die off. Of course, in this economy there are more and more people becoming "less fortunate" including some of their ranks. They won't know what hit 'em until it's too late (and they will blame the Democrats or think whatever Rush tells them to think).

As you see from the pics here, the pro-reform side were representing with signs too. Actually there were people from both sides populating both sides of the street, which I think is a bad idea. For one thing, people on both sides are passionate about this and there could be ugly confrontations, but the main reason is this:

You're driving by in your car and here are bunches of people yelling things and carrying signs. You're in motion so you see a sign, think "it's a tea party rally" and drive on. What you don't see is that most of the people there were on the opposite side of the issue. The ones outside, who are also yelling and carrying signs look very much like the tea people, so it looks to a drive-by like the tea party is much bigger than it really is. Also, most of us were on the inside of the building where the speakers were.
click to enlarge
Just my 2¢

Some ugly stats mentioned in the rally and listed in this article about how Gov. Perry plans to fight reform all the way to a showdown:
-- Texas has the highest percentage of uninsured people in the nation at 30% (California has 24%)
-- 1 in 5 children in Texas is without health insurance, highest ratio in the nation
-- 90% of uninsured children live in a household where at least one person is employed full time.
-- Over 40 million Americans do not have health insurance.


enigma4ever said...

wow...very cool..son and I are moving there in 6 monthes...

( there were and are no rallies here..)

meredith said...

Dear Texas Oasis,

This is your blog, so please pardon me while I disagree with your examination of those who are against the current health reform proposals. Most of us are not selfish people who "don't give a d*mn if the less fortunate people just die off". Many of us believe that we should primarily take care of each other outside the realm of government and where that won't work (in the case of the less fortunate uninsured), we believe the government can offer better solutions that a single payer system (like tax-credits, subsidies, etc).

When we become narrow-minded and hardened to those with dissenting opinions, we fail to represent the best of what the United States offers.

Please continue to be the great American that you are and if you have not already, please read the constitution and understand how our country was designed for limited government intrusion in our lives so that we can truly be the freest nation on earth.

Best regards to you.

Blueberry said...

meredith, thank you for for civil comment. I truly hope that most people on the other side of the argument are caring enough to not want the less fortunate to be neglected and allowed to die. I *have* unfortunately talked to some who did feel that way and were not so moderate as you.

We fundamentally disagree on this issue. I doubt that is something that will change.

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