Friday, April 22, 2011

Town Halls Redux

In the summer of 2009, the right-wingers took over the town hall meetings of Democrats, and acting out became all the rage, so to speak. Now that the GOP is in charge of the House and putting out some really draconian ideas, they’re getting the heat. The other day I noted that the Very Serious and Courageous Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) got booed at one of his town meetings. He’s not the only one.

Last night, Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA) received a similarly hostile reception from constituents during a public forum in Carbon County, as he tried to (incorrectly) reassure the group that Ryan’s budget would not affect the Medicare benefits of those over the age of 55.

“This plan does not do nothing to affect anyone 55 years or older,” he said. “When we start doing things that scare senior citizens, like politicians do that to get elected, I believe they need to find a different occupation.” But before Barletta could continue, 64-year-old Linda Christman raised her hand and argued that those under 55 would see an erosion of benefits. The exchange became heated as other constituents began yelling for the woman to “sit down“:

CHRISTMAN: Excuse me, I’d like to get something off my chest. And that is, you seem to think that because I’m not affected, I won’t care if my niece, my grandson, my child is affected. I do care. And what you’re doing with this Ryan budget is you’re taking Medicare and you’re changing it from a guaranteed health care system to one that is a voucher system where you throw seniors on the mercy of for-profit insurance companies. […]

BARLETTA: Well, I won’t destroy Medicare, Medicare is going to be destroyed by itself. You’re….

CHRISTMAN: I have a great way for you…

CROWD: Let him talk….Sit down!…Let him talk! SIT DOWN!

MAN: I agree with her. And you know what? Why don’t you tell me to sit down?!

CROWD: SIT DOWN!

MAN: She’s an American citizen. … Why don’t you show some manners and shut your mouth and let her talk. … Why don’t you grow up and stop acting like a bunch of little boys?

Well, what goes around, etc. Let’s see how serious and courageous they really are.