Thursday, August 25, 2005

A meeting with my representative

Went reluctantly to the Wally Herger town meeting. He has been our representative for 16 years and has been lock step with Bush and co. It was a democratic plot of course for us to be there and question him on Iraq, health care, energy, social security. The DNC president of Trinity County is a very rotund, kindly grizzly Adams type white bearded man in t shirt and jeans. His website is Bushcheneysuck.com. He and a female counterpart stood quietly with anti war signs outside the library as we await the opening of the meeting hall. John Rapf, always mixing it up, took who I think was the president of the RNC, dressed in pinstripe suit, neat haircut and little identifying tag out to meet our guy.

We were told to spread out and not sit together which as it turned out was good advice. Una and I sat together. The room was filled to overflowing. White haired Republican women(they were sponsoring the event) sat in the front rows. One, looking around and seeing a sign carried in saying high oil prices were Bush's legacy, was outraged enough to say, "Well, it takes more than 4 years to get the mold out of a house!!!!" as if that settled the issue. Obviously, the high oil prices and Clinton and Gore's fault. These are women who have been terrified by blow jobs in the Oval office. Herger comes in shaking hands all the way around the room and grabs the mike and notes the crowd and how there must be some issues. Then he grandstands for a while talking blah blah blah about the issues that confront us today, mentioning our work in Iraq for democracy and saying as if it is conventional wisdom that democratically elected governments didn't invade other countries. That brought loud guffaws from the back of the room where we were sitting and several people yelled," Well, we did!!!" He quickly covered that over by saying that radical environmentalists and liberals had been following him at his meetings and disrupting them and from that point on, all that was not working and bad in this country was their fault. I learned that they, me, we shut down the mills, opened the borders to illegal immigrants, didn't let the US have enough oil by drilling in Alaska, wanted to burn Weaverville down(go figure on that one), let Social Security collapse, and would let Iraqis come into this country and cut our heads off if we didn't convert to Islam. Una spoke up at this and said that wasn't true and some of the white haired chorus of old ladies who sat in the front rows worshiping Herger turned and said, "It is so!! Where have you been, lady!!!"

John spoke about how Social Security was not in trouble and for the rest of the time was the butt and example of a liberal, totally misguided and ignorant. Tim asked why Herger voted for a raise for himself and voted no for a $1 increase in the minimum wage and he said he thought the minimum wage should be abolished and it was only young people after all who worked for minimum wage and they weren't experienced enough to get much money. Una followed up a young woman's questions about the Iraq war which he didn't answer just talked more about those head chopping off Iraqis. I tried several times to get called on but he perhaps saw me and Una talking together and didn't take the chance.

I didn't get to say all my sound bites about a neighbor who has to pay $10,000 upfront to get an operation for her child while he gets health care paid for by taxpayers and how if the resources of this great nation were focused on alternative to oil we could have clean energy in less than 10 years, just like we put a man on the moon. But we can't do that when the leaders are invested in the oil business ect ect.

His MO was fear and hatred, fear and hatred, bouncing back and forth between the two.

I drove home feeling very grateful that we all weren't in jail or that no one was following us going to pull us over and beat us up or kill us and realizing what a thin wall of civil rights, slowly being chipped away, separates us from the experience activists in other countries have. Una was energized by getting a chance to speak out. John sent an email this morning saying we were great! I continue to nurse my cold and defrost the refrigerator.


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