Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Pondering the Senator McCaskill Hillsboro town hall…

Yesterday this bitch joined fellow pro-choice activists at Senator McCaskill’s town hall in Hillsboro.

It was…well, one word just can’t sum it up.

Yes, a sorta-scuffle broke out when a man grabbed and ripped up a poster of Rosa Parks a woman mistakenly brought into the meeting hall (signs were banned by the college hosting the event).

No, that wasn’t me.

Mercy.

That woman didn’t even have an Afro!

I did have an unfortunate incident with a woman when I was trying to make a phone call outside of the hall while being black. She got up in my face…said something about being tired of all us [insert N-word]…and then called me a baby killer (I was wearing a pink Planned Parenthood t-shirt). She was quickly escorted away by an extremely nice and police officer.

But, other than those incidents and a general climate of vocal hostility, nothing happened that wasn’t expected.

Anyhoo, here are my observations.

A lot of people in attendance weren’t Obama or McCaskill supporters before healthcare reform. This wasn’t about McCaskill losing support…it was about people who did not support her, do not support her and will not support her telling her why they did not support her, do not support her and will not support her.

A lot of the folks in attendance were confused. President Obama was portrayed on signs and pamphlets as some sort of Nazi, socialist, foreign born, communist, Muslim, euthanasia enthusiast, fascist who wants to tyrannically impose new environmental standards to perpetuate the dangerous myth of global warming all the while teaching the wee little babies about birth control in pre-school and plotting to knock off Grandma.

These people seem to be scared shitless by the Obama presidency.

Many of them are on Medicare…like Medicare…don’t want to see Medicare go away, but are opposed to government healthcare coverage options.

Blink.

Still others are for tort reform instead of healthcare reform…seemed surprised that Missouri and other states have already done some serious tort reform…were even more surprised that the tort reform they called for did not result in a lowering of healthcare costs…and then settled back on their allegation that healthcare reform is fascist and supporters want to knock off Grandma.

Don’t even get me started on how the crowd cheered when Senator McCaskill announced the huge profits posted by healthcare insurance companies. I was so sure they were about to start a Blue Cross Blue Shield They’re Our Man If They Can’t Profit from it NO ONE Can! cheer…but they somehow restrained themselves.

Anyhoo, after two hours it was all over.

And a bitch was left more enlightened than disturbed.

See, I live here and I’ve got a pretty good handle on my region…and I’ve got to tell you that crowd didn’t warrant the press coverage they got.

Nope…sorry, but no cigar.

If a bitch had been blogging the event I’d have covered the fact that, given the accusations made by those people who did attend, it is far more news worthy that the place didn’t reach capacity.

Because the fact that throngs weren’t gathered outside even though this town hall was closer to conservative areas than the more liberal St. Louis city (the St. Louis event was cancelled)…the fact that every seat in the place was not filled nor were people overflowing outside the building…the fact that there were lots of healthcare reform supporters there too (and Gawd forbid the media capture that)…and the fact that a bunch of other folks were there from organizations trying to get petitions signed for this or that (hey, a crowd is an opportunity!)…

…all of that shit adds up to not as many fired up anti-reform confused about the difference between a socialist and a fascist Missourians as they and their backers would have the press believe.

Which leaves this bitch suspecting that most eastern Missourians are still in Show-Me mode in regards to healthcare reform while yesterday’s town hall represented the folks who refuse to be shown.

33 comments:

Dusty said...

I watched the epic on MSNBC. I was freaked by the whole thing..people are so hosed up over the Healthcare Wars.

Glad you weren't hit over the head, or tazed, or any other of the multitude of bad things that could of happened.

It's a friggin warzone ain't it? Makes me quite sad Shark Fu. ;(

J. A. Baker said...

A lot of the folks in attendance were confused. President Obama was portrayed on signs and pamphlets as some sort of Nazi, socialist, foreign born, communist, Muslim, euthanasia enthusiast, fascist who wants to tyrannically impose new environmental standards to perpetuate the dangerous myth of global warming all the while teaching the wee little babies (well, the few he hasn't personally aborted yet) about birth control in pre-school and plotting to knock off Grandma and hand altar boys over to gay pedophiles.


Fixed.

(BTW, I arrived via Pandagon. I met Pam at Netroots Nation last year - she is awesome!)

NancyP said...

I daresay the folks attending the daytime events don't have jobs with real responsibilities. (The number of employment-age people who freelance or otherwise have the ability to readily schedule around an event (without dumping on coworkers unduly) are few.) I'd guess that the unemployed, housewives, elderly, and perhaps a few college students, are the likely audience for a weekday noon-ish event. No wonder the most obnoxious attendees resemble unmoderated blog/listserv commenters - the pajama-clad members of the 101st Keyboarding Brigade of Freeperdom, stationed in their parents' converted basements.

That could be a big reason for low turnout, from all sides of the issue.

Another reason is that the town hall format has been temporarily ceded to the wingnuts, and the non-wingnuts are (I hope) choosing to write letters, call, etc., rather than wait around and then get abused or beat up by some yahoo.

L. Jackson said...

I have been doing a great deal of reading & find the Media stir-up is back in play big-time! I also caught the O's town hall meeting & have been reading the bill as written. Have questions: why do ignorant folks listen to 'hear-say' w/o checking it out & where do ignorant folks hide out..cause me not wanting to go there! So much of our world has been held back by ignorant folks being scared..I'm surprised anything get accomplished! Question: are u on White House http, lots of good up-dates/understanding there? Also glad that weren't hurt & nice cop jumped at right time...hugs..

Stella said...

Perfect - "These people seem to be scared shitless by the Obama presidency." or as Atrios said "Nobody could've predicted that electing a black man president would drive this country completely fucking insane."

It's all part of the show.
I love your final paragraph.
Thanks for a great blog.

Anonymous said...

White chick commenting: They can't believe that we have an African American (who has a wacky Furin name, and a father from Kenya, who might be a muslim) and they are losing it. I had the misfortune to run into one of them: He's a homeskoolin freak a zoid and a bible thumper. "Obama is going to get rid of NYSCHAP!!!" NYSCHAP is a NYS run agricultural program. I said he wasn't and quickly moved on. Please! As if President Obama doesn't have enough to worry about? Like he really cares about a small NYS ag. program?
They're crazy. I hate them. Yes I do, and I don't care.

RachelB said...

Hi, Shark-fu. I'm here from Shakesville.

The coverage of the town hall meetings (well, the coverage of the eliminationist, racist, xenophobic, too-ignorant-to-know-that-Medicare-is-a-federal-program people attending them) has been so constant, and the behavior of the people interviewed so obnoxious, that I've been contacting all my public officials to remind them that there are plenty of well-informed, reasonable people who don't believe that the status quo is acceptable.

Thank you for your bravery, and I'm glad you're all right.

Tina said...

Many of them are on Medicare…like Medicare…don’t want to see Medicare go away, but are opposed to government healthcare coverage options.

Blink.


Repeated, for emphasis.

Dailyfare said...

Thank you for your observations.

Anonymous said...

The Media has more responsibility in this than anyone is pointing out. They should be the ones educating and refuting, but they are too interested in promoting the conflict and portraying the conflict - it's good for their ratings. For so long we've been led to believe we need to contact our congresspeople, when we should have been concentrating on the media. They use our "public" airwaves to pander, incite, and create conflict just so they can film it and boost ratings. I say protest the MSM by not supporting their advertisers.

Nancy said...

I'm in St Louis (metro area) and I'm here to tell you that if this is a "more liberal" part of the state, then this state is in far deeper trouble than I'd had any idea of.

When is McCaskill's next town meeting? As long as I'm not scheduled for work, I'm there. This, dammit, is MY country TOO.

Shark-fu said...

Senator McCaskill's website is the best resource for when town halls are happening. Also, you'll need to register just in case. Scroll down the front page and there should be info. there.

http://mccaskill.senate.gov/

Ravan Asteris said...

Shark-fu, thanks for your pithy, bitchy comments that have some meat, not just heat, behind them. The anonymous coward that whined about you swearing should listen to some of the obscene crap that the teabaggers are saying - oh, wait, he probably is, and spewing it himself. But since he's probably a religious nut too, he gets a "bye" for all the false witness, greed, impiety and blasphemy by virtue of his bought and paid for salvation.

I added you to my link list on my blog.

Keep up the lovely rants.

Nancy said...

Shark-fu,
Thank you for the link - I'm headed there next.

Ravan,
What you said - amen!

David Duff said...

"President Obama was portrayed on signs and pamphlets as some sort of Nazi [...] fascist ..."

Wind the clock back a few years and insert the name 'Bush' instead of 'Obama' and you have an example of the same old, same old.

By the way, just as a matter of interest, did you object to Bush/Hitler pamphlets at the time?

Shark-fu said...

David...

You know what, after enduring the shit I went through at that town hall meeting I am not in the mood to dance.

I've got archives.

Review them.

You won't find any damn mocked up poster of Hitler and you sure as shit wont find a picture of me jumping up in some white woman's face, calling her a (shit, is there an equivalent word to "nigger" for white women?) and then spitting out some bullshit about how she's a baby killer because she supported the Iraq War.

I don't roll that way and I don't support the kind of rhetorical manipulation that inspires people to behave that way.

The only victor in this circus is the status quo and the less than 10% of this nation benefiting from it...but it would be too much like right for the press to report that.

David Duff said...

Sorry, 'Shark-fu', perhaps I didn't express myself clearly enough. You wrote what reads like a criticism against those who portrayed Obama as a nazi or a fascist - and quite right, too, I agree with you. But my question, which is an easy one to answer without my having the no doubt enjoyable experience of combing your archives, is did you raise criticisms of those anti-war protesters who did the same to George Bush?

As you well know it is a 'sauce, goose and gander' sort of a question!

Shark-fu said...

Well David, I'm not in a sauce, goose gander kind of mood.

I said...
"A lot of the folks in attendance were confused. President Obama was portrayed on signs and pamphlets as some sort of Nazi, socialist, foreign born, communist, Muslim, euthanasia enthusiast, fascist who wants to tyrannically impose new environmental standards to perpetuate the dangerous myth of global warming all the while teaching the wee little babies about birth control in pre-school and plotting to knock off Grandma."

My point was about the confusion and that these folks don't seem to be coming from a place of logic or rational critique. I mean, how many black Muslim Nazi pro-choice euthanasia backers do you know?

But hey, I'll defend an Americans right to public displays of ignorance, fear and bigotry any day.

tinfoil hattie said...

As you well know it is a 'sauce, goose and gander' sort of a question!

As we all well know it is a "why don't you bitchezzz ever talk about what I want you to talk about especially when you're addressing the hateful bigotry this country is steeped in and what about poor George Bush! After all, he's an oppressed white man!" question.

Jordan said...

That last part captures the crux of this issue; I think the vast majority of people out there really want President Obama to take clear leadership and show them the value of this. It's there, he just needs to rise above this BS and find a vehicle that will drive a clear message home to those who want to listen.

These idiots who want to chant down people and who are crying out to their senator that they are afraid of the spooky black guy in THEIR American White House are beyond help. They are the thoughtless masses yearning for something to be afraid of. Fox News and the like give them that and they'll never let go regardless of any evidence shown to them.

As much as I hate to say it, a man who would rip apart a poster of Rosa Parks, despite the breaking of the rules, and the crowd that would cheer him on in such an act are largely beyond reason and should be shut out of the real debate.

Great post.

David Duff said...

"My point was about the confusion and that these folks don't seem to be coming from a place of logic or rational critique.

Quite so, and whilst I wouldn't put it in quite those words I am not unsymathetic to your point of view. However, you still fail to indicate whether or not you approve of the anti-war demonstrators who used precisely the same tactics against Bush?

Unless, of course, you are including them in your final sentence, and if it that is the case, then what can I say except, er, Hallelujah!

Hattie writes:

"As we all well know it is a [...] question. Er, no, Hattie, actually, it is not that sort of question at all. Try reading it again, there's a good girl.

Erich said...

I don't know anything about this story other than a video. I was not aware that posters had been banned.

If I were in the audience I doubt I would have known the subject of the poster. I agree these people are thuggish, but I don't think it is clear the intention of the person in this case. Perhaps there is more to it than I am aware.

I recall when Bush had people arrested for wearing peace t-shirts at campaign rallies. I don't know why these events are so out of control.

It is remarkable so many poor people are working against their own best interests, but it is no longer suprising.

Sangroncito said...

All these "birthers" , "deathers" and "tea baggers" have one thing in common...scratch beneath the surface and it is racism that is the their underlying motivation. Their sense white privilege and entitlement has been shaken to the core by Obama's Presidency, and they are going to fight tooth and nail against anything that represents change from the status quo.

Sitting here in San Francisco---where virtually everyone is ready for change and supports the Obama agenda---it seems that Middle America has gone off its rocker. Keep up the good fight and let the world know that there are more voices out there than the angry and fearful wingnuts we've been seeing in the media.

Nick said...

Hi, Sharkfu!

I always wanted to see some kind of real census from one of these town hall meetings -- it's good to hear that there are gradations to the crankiness.

Any chance of you or another Feministing scholar could give us a post on what health care reform means to women as a group? There must be some kind of connection between employer-based health care, marriage benefits, and spousal dependence -- I mean, wouldn't it be better for many women if they weren't encouraged to marry (and discouraged to divorce) because of health benefits?

dmc1944 said...

Just stumbled across your blog. Love your clear sighted view of the world. Very enjoyable and smart ranting.

NancyP said...

You didn't see much protest against Bush because the media didn't cover it, and because the Bush organization threw people out who wore peace message T-shirts, made "designated protest areas" a quarter mile or more from the event (and had individuals coming closer arrested whether or not they had signs), had most events closed to the public, either fundraising, corporate photo-ops (with workers obliged to put up or be fired), or military photo-ops (active military cannot diss the President/C-in-C in public).

Bush got some "fascist" comparisons mostly because of his spying on American citizens, his acknowledged and defended policy of torture, his joke about how his life would be so much easier if he were a dictator, etc.

Hitler is entirely the wrong comparison. Mussolini is a better personality/goal match - an opportunist who had no interest in ideology, only in power and making his rich friends and himself richer. The Italian Fascists got their start as union-busters for hire. They envied the English, Belgians, French, Germans, Dutch their more profitable colonies, but face it, most Italians just weren't interested in achieving "glory" in foreign lands, and had no interest in the revival of a Roman Empire.

Anonymous said...

Is it just me... or did anyone else wonder why 3 officers grabbed the black female and only one for the angry white guy... if anything he should have been arrested for theft... geeezzz people this is not ok... she was just sitting there and he for all practical purposed assaulted her space and took her property..why wasnt she defended from him? I hope some really big guy smashes that piece of lowly evolved human flesh...

angry white girl...tired of those kind of ignorant white people embarrasing me..

scunnert said...

As someone living in Canada ( we have state provided universal healthcare ) I gaotta ask - are these folks really that stupid?

Mkali-Hashiki said...

@ David
<<"As we all well know it is a [...] question. Er, no, Hattie, actually, it is not that sort of question at all. Try reading it again, there's a good girl.>>

You just showed your patronizing, entitled Freudian "draws" by calling Hattie a "good girl".

And basically proved her point, boy.

David Duff said...

Mkali-Hashiki, 'patronisation', if I may neologise, is a game for two. It requires a 'patroniser' but also a 'patronisee'. If Hattie chooses to totally misrepresent my question in a stream of childish un-consciousness, then she deserves to be patted on the head and sent on her way, a case, if I may say so, of if the hat fits Hattie, so be it.

You, too, are in similar danger because I made absolutely no claim to entitlement which anyway has no part in this conversation. As for Freud, he was mostly a silly old fool whose ridiculous and unscientific ideas have caused much mischief but which are the subject of abject and total faith by people who then deride, say, Christians for believing in God.

I'm not sure I understand your reference to "draws".

Ravan Asteris said...

Horse pucky, David. Patronization is a game for one. You have now attempted to blame the target of your patronization for being patronized by you. The fact that you are spewing your "stream of childish un-consciousness" at her does not make her responsible for it. Own your own shit, don't blame it on your target.

David Duff said...

Ravan, you may well be right, sometimes I just can't help myself, more to be pitied than anything else; but please tell me what "horse pucky" means and where it comes from. I just love new words and new phrases and that is a complete original as far as I'm concerned.

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