Tonight I went to the Towson University Center for the Arts, where Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland was holding a town meeting on the subject of health care reform. Don’t ask me what the Hell happened at the meeting, because the didn’t let me or about 1,000 other people waiting outside in. I can tell you what happened outside.
I got there just before 6:00 PM. It was still pleasantly warm outside. The crowd seemed mostly amiable, not at all like the angry mobs I have seen on YouTube.
I walked past the Larouchians holding up pictures of Obama with a Hitler mustache, past folks carrying “Don’t tread on me” flags, past a sign proclaiming: OBAMACARE: SICK? CALL 1-800-SUICIDE FOR YOUR PAINKILLER and another one demanding NO GOVT. DEATHCARE.
I crossed the street and struck a up conversation with an ordinary Joe, a gentleman in his late seventies, holding a sign demanding NO OBAMA DEATH CARE. (In fairness, I suppose I mention that Joe is a veteran of our nation’s armed forces, and I am not.) “Socialized medicine will take this country down the tubes,” he warned me. I asked him who paid for his health care. “Medicare,” he replied.
I queried him about the message on his sign. He explained that he had heard on both Hannity and Limbaugh that under Obama’s health care plan, every five years senior citizens would be required to go before a government panel to justify their continued existence. If they couldn’t, the government would withhold life-sustaining treatment, effectively condemning them to death.
I spoke to another fellow with iron-gray hair, tanned and fit, standing next to an expensive mountain bike, holding up a sign that displayed the single word OBAMACARE beneath a skull and crossed bones. “What brings you here?” “I’m a conservative,” he replied. Asked what the message on his sign meant, he shot back, “Oh, I think you know what it means.” Asked what he didn’t like about Obama’s health care plan, he snapped, “There’s a lot of things I don’t like about it.”
I decided to move on.
I encountered two young women handing out leaflets listing average wait times for treatment by a specialist in Canada. I asked them what they didn’t like about Obama’s health care plan. “The wait times,” they explained.
“I’ll tell you what I don’t like about it,” a burly bald fellow with a mustache interjected. “I don’t like the euthanasia provision.”
I walked up the hill towards the Arts Center, which had been cordoned off by the police, and I spoke to another gray-haired fellow who claimed to be 75, although he could have passed for twenty years younger than that. He held a sign that said, NO COMMIE RAT BUREAURAT HAS THE RIGHT TO SEND A DEATH SQUAD FOR ME. He explained Obama’s health care plan would mean that “At age 75 some bureau-rat – some commie rat – will tell you you can’t afford hip replacement, can’t even afford painkillers, just go take some aspirin, because some illegal immigrant has had a passel of kids and we need to pay for them.”
The shadows were lengthening, and I decided to go home. As I walked back down the hill, I saw that across the street, one of the protesters, an elderly woman, had collapsed. Our Socialized Police Department stopped traffic, and our Socialized Fire Department sent an ambulance to the scene. The crew expertly bundled her into the back, but she emerged, just a few minutes later, shaken but otherwise seemingly none the worse for the wear. A middle-aged woman, presumably her daughter, arrived in a gray minivan to pick her up, and they drove off.
All photos by author