News and notes from Reston (tm).

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Reston Town Hall: A Crappy Cell Phone Photo Gallery of Right-Thinking Americans

So along with more than 2,500 of our BFFs, we went to the Reston "town hall" meeting on healthcare at South Lakes High School last night, after having to park all the way down Soapstone, near the still napalmed restored Glade Reach. How was it? A nice rabbi got booed halfway through the opening prayer, and professional wackjob Randall Terry got ejected, pro-wrestling style, as people jeered. Around that point, we pretty much lost any hope for the future, but fortunately our "cellular phone" managed to bear witness to the entire freak show shining example of democracy in action:


Here are some hippies, or something, who hijacked an actual ambulance to make the case for universal health care. If the country's medical system is in such crisis, doesn't it need that ambulance?


Hello there, anti-Obama protesters. Your signs aren't nearly offensive enough, and seem to be apparently free of racial overtones. In fact, they're almost funny. What's up with that?


Oh, okay. Obama = Hitler. Much better.


Here were some signs held by supporters of Obama's plan, until the Death Panels took them away.


Why there's Congressman Jim Moran, apparently facing the harsh light of truth from an empowered media. Or maybe he's being asked some question about his birth certificate.




Okay, so here's where we started getting a little scared.

While Shouty McHate and his awesome pro-assault rifle T-shirt and banner might have gotten the best of us, our favorite correspondent, the Peasant from Less Sought After South Reston, managed to keep enough of his wits about him to pen an account of the actual town hall. Read it in the comments.


  1. Here's the Peasant From Less Sought After South Reston's unvarnished account of the Town Hall:

    More exciting than a Seahawks basketball game!

    Such were the atmospherics in the South Lake High School auditorium Tuesday night when an estimated 3,000 citizens crowded in for the much-heralded town hall meeting on health care reform led by the Virginia 8th's very own Jim Moran and the Green Mountain State's very own Howard "The Scream" Dean. It was a media circus; the Peasant, who contributes to this non-professional "Web log", was awed by the presence of 19 camera crews and accompanying professional journalists, all lined up to film the action. And action there was.

    Upon arriving at South Lakes, sans Kevlar flak jacket, the Peasant and all other waiting in line for entrance to the main event are greeted by an assortment of placard wavers, including what by now must be the obligatory Obama the Joker image. While those opposed to health reform seem more visible outside, once inside the auditorium it is far different, with the pro-reform supporters in a clear but not overwhelming majority. Interestingly enough, like the homing instincts of the swallows returning to San Juan Capistrano, the supporters flock to the left side of the auditorium while the opponents cluster to the right. The former wave a sea of navy blue "Standing Together for Health Insurance Reform" signs while the latter sport a few yellow "Don't Tread On Me" flags.

    Most creative home-made signs:

    Pro: "Where were all the patriots when Bush was spending like a drunken Republican?"

    Con: "My President went to Martha's Vineyard and all I got was this lousy socialized medicine."

    Neutral: "Go Skins."

    By 7:00 the auditorium is pretty much at, if not in fact over, capacity. Not to worry: a large contingent of Fairfax County police, as well as a fire truck and ambulance, are at the high school in case someone gets the vapors. At 7:10, the main event, as Moran and Dean take the stage mostly to applause but also some boos. "It's important to hear from all sides," Moran notes, and needless to say, he does indeed. The crowd momentarily quiets as a local rabbi offers the benediction, but as he invokes the audience to show respect and civility, one yahoo up in the bleachers bellows out "What about respect for the Constitution?". Not that every comment from the peanut gallery is inane; when Moran notes that "dissent is as American as apple pie" and that "the voices of the American people shouldn't be silenced," he gets a split-second retort, "Tell that to Nancy Pelosi."

    Moran then spends 30 minutes listing what he terms are 11 myths about health care and offers a rebuttal for each. Just past 8:00 Howard Dean takes the mike. For some reason he is more of a lightning rod than Moran, at last to judge by the volume of booing. Much of what he says is nearly drowned out by his opponents in the crowd, leaving The Peasant to wonder how this compares to Dean's experience in the more orderly and civil yearly town hall meetings each municipality in Vermont annually holds.

  2. Part Two of the Peasant's Take:

    It is shortly after Dean begins to speak that the evening's only kerfuffle of note occurs. A vociferous opponent standing on a chair and trying to shout down Dean is eventually removed by the authorities. It turns out to be Randall Terry of Operation Rescue, minus any street theater props of baby dolls and gray-haired grannies. As he is walked out of the auditorium by a Fairfax County police officer with a firm grip on Terry's shoulder, three camera crews trail behind to record the moment for posterity. Moran then graciously offers to let Terry ask the first question and speak for five minutes, but the offer apparently is not accepted and a loud chant of "Kick him out! Kick him out!" rises from much of the auditorium.

    The Q-and-A session with the audience, by contrast, is almost anti-climactic as Moran and Dean explain different aspects of the health reform plan.

    Bottom line: much heat, some light. And this being right-thinking (not necessarily in the political sense) Reston, perhaps we can take some pride in the fact that despite all the evident disagreement and strongly held opinions, the evening never quite gets to the point where someone has to yell "Don't tase me, bro!"

  3. The Convict in the South Reston GulagAugust 26, 2009 at 9:28 AM

    Yeah, and while all of you freaks and geeks were waiting to see some poor unfortunate get skewered, or maybe foisted on his own petard, my family was at the YMCA actually doing something about their health.

  4. I wish I had known about this town hall- I would have been there representing the pro-reform side.

    All I know is that I have a mother with a debilitating illness who can't find anyone willing to insure her. She's in okay shape now, but when the problems start and she needs ongoing hospital care, I'm pretty sure the bills are going to wipe me and the rest of our family out financially. What are we supposed to do, just say "oh well" and let her die? No, we'll spend every last cent for her of course.

    We are not poor, homeless, or illegal. We all have college and grad degrees. Just a typical family caught in this country's hopelessly broken healthcare system.

    It blows my mind that families that could easily wind up in the same situation are against the reform that could save the lives of their loved ones as well as their bank accounts.

  5. For the convict

  6. In case you missed the "fun" and are morbidly curious, here's the C-SPAN video.

  7. Above Anonymous:

    Thanks for posting the link to the C-SPAN video. For anyone wanting to see the dust-up involving Randall Terry, go to the one-hour mark on the video. It's basically from 1:00 to 1:06 on the timer

  8. Thanks for the video link as well.. it appears it was somewhat substantive... putting aside the distratctions...

  9. Yes, those misinformed leftist can be very distracting !

  10. agreed -- the leftists, and the rightwingers, both... look a standard normal curve if you get my gist...

  11. In our family we have dealt with breast cancer and ALS. Both of those individuals affected had, for years, contributed sacrificially into insurance plans to cover any potential health problems. As it turned out they 'won' the gamble by getting sick. In the years that they contributed, they gave up other things like dinners out, cable TV, a second car, vacations to exotic places, and their kids went to state universities and paid for their own graduate degrees. Everything in life has a price.

    I totally agree that insurance companies and drug companies and medical health care companies are making out like congressmen (oops, I meant bandits) in the current system. My fear is that the transition to something more "fair" will totally screw those of us up who have been good stewards of our time, energy and money.

    The Canadians (as if they have a dog in this fight and should be saying anything at all) tell us our system is a travesty. Well, why are they short on doctors? Because they come here to make a living!

    There are no easy answers here. I just hope that in the wake of Ted Kennedy's death we don't get a half-assed screw up the country more plan rammed down our throats "in memoriam" of him. He, at least, never had to worry about stewardship or medical care. I guess the best deal is to run for Congress.

  12. Hey! Show me in the constitution where they ncan take TAXPAYER'S money and turn it into health care for every one. Start at Article 1, Section 8. Then remember Life, Liberty and the Pursuir of happiness is not guaranteed...

  13. show me where the constitution allows BO to fire a CEO (GM) just so he can have control....

  14. pitiful .. just pitiful...


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