Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Yesterday I attended President Obama's speach on health care reform at the Portsmouth High School Gymnasium. My friend Jen, graciously shared her pair of tickets with me. We, along with 2000 or so others, waited in line for two hours before we were admitted to the High School. (Obama was punctual and arrived just when he said...at right about 1pm).
In a word, he was electrifying. The event kicked off with the pledge of allegiance, the national prayer, and the national anthem sung by Portsmouth's own, Natalie Hazzard. The President was then introduced by a Portsmouth resident, Lori Hitchcock, who has been denied health insurance due to her health condition (a pre-existing condition, that being hepatitus C).
Finally the president arrived on stage. He gave brief-ish statement on heath care reform before turning the event over to us, where everyone was encouraged to raise their hands. Folks were literally handpicked by the president (he's often referred to as 'The Professor', and I could see why; at times it really did feel like you were sitting in a college lecture; the best kind of lecture too, where the rooms are packed, the professor is animated and challenging, and everyone eagerly waves their hands hoping they get picked next).
Obama went on to clear-up virtually every myth out there from the rumor on death panels (no Obama won't pull the plug on dear ole grannie), to his alleged hit-list-my personal favorite-which is a list of names he's collecting by email of those who don't agree with him, and rationed care (for some reason those who oppose HCR think that the government will 'ration' care, when right now, your private insurance company is probably rationing your coverage now. If you need more explanation, click here, my last post illustrates how this is happening to my family now).
While inside the mood was oozing with love and good cheer, outside the picketers were unruly, and just downright ugly. The contrast between those who support healthcare reform and those who oppose it couldn't have been more stark.
PS: See if you can find the picketer with the gun. Scary stuff!