Chelsea Schilling is a commentary editor and staff writer for WND and a proud U.S. Army veteran. She has also worked as a news producer at USA Radio Network and as a news reporter for the Sacramento Union.More ↓Less ↑
Sen. Specter warns angry citizen he will be forced to leave while attendee tries to physically direct him out the door
Americans are speaking up and confronting the President Obama and Democrat lawmakers with concerns about their health care “reform.”
Citizens are flocking to town hall forums across the nation and letting their representatives know where they stand. Meetings are filled to capacity while thousands wait outside for their chance to be heard.
At a Portsmouth, N.H., high school today, President Obama hosted a health care town hall.
An estimated 2,000 proponents and opponents of his plan gathered in the streets with signs and bullhorns, ready to greet the president’s motorcade. While groups opposed to the health “reform” arrived in small groups with hand-made signs, supporters from pro-Obama organizations, such as Organizing for America and Health Care for America Now, spilled out of buses.
“Let’s get this done,” Obama shouted to a crowd of 1,800 inside Portsmouth High School.
Critics remained calm and polite when the president solicited responses from “skeptical” attendees, according to the Associated Press.
Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Penn., held a town hall meeting this morning in Lebanon, Pa., where constituents booed and jeered him for at least an hour. One man began shouting because he was not given an opportunity to speak. He complained that Specter, a long-time Republican who switched over to the Democratic Party this year, would not listen because he’s “not a lobbyist with all kind of money to stuff in your pocket.”
“One day, God’s going to stand before you,” he told the senator to his face. “And he’s going to judge you and the rest of your damn cronies up on the Hill – and then you will get your just desserts.”
Other attendees complained about Democrats plans for health “reform.” CBS News reported that one woman wore a “member of the mob” T-shirt – referencing Democrat claims that insurance companies and the Republican Party had enlisted “angry mobs” to disrupt town hall meetings.
“I don’t believe this is just health care. This is about the systematic dismantling of this country,” a woman told Specter. “You have awakened a sleeping giant. I don’t want this country turning into Russia, turning into a socialized country. What are you going to do to restore this country back to what our founders created, according to the Constitution?”
Her question prompted a standing ovation. Several members of the crowd shouted, “You work for us!” Meanwhile, a large crowd gathered outside with signs warning of socialism.
The following video shows the exchange:
At an Aug. 6 forum sponsored by Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-Mo., many protesters were turned away at the door while SEIU members were allowed in. A video of the St. Louis, Mo., incident can be seen below:
The event resulted in six arrests. Afterward, town hall attendee Kenneth Gladney, 38, was beaten, kicked and called racist names outside the meeting. He was at the forum to sell “Don’t tread on me” flags, but he said he found himself with a Service Employees International Union, or SEIU, member in his face, calling him the “N”-word and asking what he was doing peddling his message.
Gladney claims he was punched in the face and two other SEIU members jumped on top of him, yelled racial epithets and kicked and punched him. He said he sought treatment for injuries to his knee, back, elbow, shoulder and face.
Also in Missouri, Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., faced “shouts and jeers” even in “friendly territory” at her town hall forum on Aug. 10.
At Poplar Bluff, Mo., the report said, an audience of 500 applauded the loudest when Obama was called a socialist.
Another audience member asked, “Where’s the birth certificate?” alluding to the dispute over Obama’s still-unreleased eligibility documentation.
AP reported McCaskill was visibly frustrated and at one point said, “You guys are so mean.”
Rep. Kathy Castor’s Aug. 6 town hall meeting in Tampa, Fla., ended abruptly after 1,500 citizens attempted to enter an event intended to hold approximately 250 people.
Hundreds of people remained outside, many of whom had been waiting for hours to attend the meeting. Meanwhile, seats remained empty inside while SEIU workers and other attendees distributed flyers and signs for the Democrat health care plan to audience members.
One woman outside shouted, “This was supposed to be a town hall meeting. Last time I checked, those were open to the public.”
Finally, some attendees were allowed in, but hundreds waited in line with signs outside.
Castor left 15 minutes into the meeting. Just outside the meeting room, constituents chanted, “You work for us,” “Tyranny, tyranny” and “Read the bill.”
A businessman with a shredded shirt reported to police that staffers attacked him, twisting his arm and tearing his watch off. Another, he claims, grabbed him by the neck and tore his shirt.
“I just came to listen and see what I’m missing about this health care thing because it doesn’t make sense to me,” he told a reporter.
Castor later said the event has strengthened her resolve to promote health care reform.
“It has strengthened my resolve to stand up for families and seniors,” Castor told reporters for Tampa Bay Online. “Floridians are bearing a great burden in health care costs, more than almost any other state.”
A video of the crowd outside the event can be seen below:
Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., hosted an Aug. 10 town hall meeting at the Georgia Perimeter College campus in Clarkston. At least 500 citizens showed up in an auditorium while between 1,000 and 1,500 watched the discussion on closed circuit television screens in the gymnasium. Hundreds of citizens stood in an exceedingly long line to have their voices heard while as many as 500 people left the event. Though there was a mix of booing and cheering, attendees stayed calm during the discussion
The following video by a group called Secular Stupidest shows the length of the line:
In Maryland, Sen. Ben Cardin faced booing and jeering constituents at his Aug. 10 forum as he attempted to defend the health care legislation. According to Fox News, when Cardin said details of how the plan will be funded have not been worked out, attendees shouted, “Taxes!” and “Spend, Ben, spend!”
When one person asked Cardin for a single example of a government-run program that provided services to citizens at a lower cost, Cardin cited national parks system and Medicare.
More than 200 citizens shared their thoughts on government-run health care with Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, today. On several occasions, he was challenged by the crowd after he declared the current health care system unsustainable.
During an Aug 8 event, one man yelled: “This is not health reform, this is control, control over our lives.”
Harkin accused the man of being part of “a nationally coordinated effort to disrupt these meetings,” but the man said no one sent him to the forum.
There were no violent incidents
As WND reported, an irate Michigan father worried over what Obamacare would do to his handicapped adult son said he was threatened after trying to get a direct answer from Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich, on Aug 6. In an interview with Fox, Sola explained how he took his wheelchair-bound adult son to the front of the room to confront Dingell, 83.
Sola said he demanded information about what Obamacare would provide for his son, and Dingell responded with a statement that there is an amendment to address the needs of the handicapped.
In an MSNBC interview, Dingell later said the town hall protests remind him of Ku Klux Klan protests.
“Well, the last time I had to confront something like this was when I voted for the civil rights bill and my opponent voted against it,” he said. “At that time, we had a lot of Ku Klux Klan folks and white supremacists and folks in white sheets and other things running around causing trouble.”
As WND reported, legislators coming to their home districts
in attempt to sell the health care plan to constituents are being met
with fierce opposition and huge crowds:
At a health care town hall event in Syracuse, N.Y., in July, police
were called in to restore order, and at least one heckler was taken
away by local police.
Close to 100 sign-carrying protesters greeted Rep. Allen Boyd,
D-Fla., at a late June community college small-business development
forum in Panama City, Fla.
Danville, Va., anti-tax tea party activists claimed they were
“refused an opportunity” to ask Rep. Thomas Perriello, D-Va., a
question at a town hall event and instructed by a plainclothes police
officer to leave the property after they attempted to hold up protest
The constituents of Rep. John Tanner, D-Tenn., unable to access their representative through a town hall meeting, created a video
charging that Tanner has met with Michael Moore and Fidel Castro, “But
he won’t meet his constituents in the 8th District to talk about health
The biggest source of protests are the health-care bill, the $787
billion economic stimulus package and the cap-and-trade legislation.
They’re also angry about Barack Obama’s refusal to release his birth
certificate to prove he is a “natural born citizen” and
constitutionally eligible to serve in the White House.
According to an Associated Press report, Obama’s top political
adviser, David Axelrod, showed Senators in D.C. video of some of the
boisterous town-hall meetings and discussed how to respond to
“It’s a challenge, no question about it, and you’ve got to get
out there and make the case,” Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., said
afterward. “This is not the time for the faint-hearted.”