I was running late for the healthcare reform rally to thank Congressman Elijah Cummings for his vote in support of healthcare reform. As I pulled into the parking lot, I could see there was already a crowd of energetic and enthusiastic sign-waving people on the sidewalk. I rushed to join them with my ‘Healthcare Now’ sign. Just ahead of me were three young ladies carrying signs. I considered speeding up to join them, but I am glad I did not. To my surprise, their signs turned out to be anti-health reforms signs. More surprises were to come. The majority of the crowd on the sidewalk also, turned out to be anti-health reform protesters, the notorious teabaggers. These dreaded teabaggers were not only here but they abounded.
Up to this time I had only seen the teabaggers on TV news, as all over the country they had been disrupting Democratic town hall meetings held to inform on and support healthcare reform. A fellow Democratic club member had told me she had witnessed how teabaggers booed a woman to silence to prevent her from testifying about how an insurance company denied her gravely ill sick child medical care at a town hall meeting in nearby Towson (MD) hosted by Senator Ben Cardin. Now they were right here in Ellicott City.
They seemed so angry. They outnumbered and were out shouting us with the help of their bullhorn. It was a little intimidating at first.
Nonetheless, with their shouts ringing in our ears, we huddled together, marched into the congressman's office. Congressman Cummings was not there, as he had gone to attend the funeral of a close friend. However, we conveyed our thanks to his representative for his recent vote and tireless work in support of affordable health care for all in a moving ceremony. Then back outside to face the raging teabaggers. But, I felt less intimidated now.
We were there because of our compassion for the 47 million fellow Americans without health insurance. We were there because of our compassion for our fellow Americans who had worked all their lives who became gravely ill, lost their jobs, so lost their insurance and lost all their possessions to the resulting bankruptcy. We were there because of our compassion for all those people like that woman in Towson, whom insurance companies had denied legitimate claims in order to make an extra buck. I wondered what possible reason could these teabaggers have to oppose such noble goals, and with such vehemence. If I listened to them, I just might find out. So I listened.
I did not find out. I heard wild incoherent rantings about death panels, socialism, and a slew of stuff most of which completely unrelated healthcare reform. Obama bashing was extremely popular. Could it be because he is black? “Obama Makes Me Sick” read one sign held by a woman. And sick she shall remain, for I am sure her beloved insurance company will deny that claim.
One guy near us began chanting over his bullhorn, “Read the constitution! Read the constitution!” We could relate to that so some of us joined in very visibly as we brandished our pro-healthcare reform signs proudly. He soon stopped that chant.
The sidewalk and the rest of the area in which we gathered was small so we virtually had to mingle with the teabaggers. One of our members spotted their probable ringleader, Warren Miller, the Republican Delegate from District 9A. He introduced me to him. We did not shake hands. Mr. Miller displayed none of the enthusiasm his fellow teabaggers showed. Instead he seemed uncomfortable, if not embarrassed to be recognized.
But it was another one of our group who really drew my attention and admiration. He was in the midst of a group of teabaggers which included a woman with a sign charging socialism. “Do you even know what socialism is? “ he asked. Obviously they did not so he proceeded bravely to educate them. I was inspired by him and followed his lead by trying to enlighten a bunch of teabaggers near to me. I am accustomed to preaching to the choir, but now we both were preaching to Philistines. We probably did not make any converts that day, but those poor misguided teabaggers, reared exclusively on distortion, lies and Rush Limbaugh-type propaganda, got to hear some true facts from us. I think that was a valuable and badly needed service and I will be better prepared to undertake it next time.
Editor, Hot Calaloo
Author, Boycott Money and Save Your Soul
- Launching The Goodwill Revolution".
Fake Teabaggers Are Anti-Spend, Anti-Government: Real Populists Want To Stop Banks From Plundering America.