"The true gentleman is friendly, but not familiar." - CONFUCIUS

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

TRYING TO MAKE SENSE OF THE TOWN HALL MEETINGS


Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve. -GEORGE BERNARD SHAW


We should forget town halls, and replace them with study halls. —“BILL MAHER



A) Steve Carell’s character in the 40 Year Old Virgin, comparing the feel of the female breast to “a bag of sand”.

B) At least 90% of the people at these town hall meetings taking place across the country.


What do a and b have in common?


They all have somewhere in the neighborhood of no idea what they’re talking about.


People argue over issues they don’t know shit about all the time. God knows I do. It’s fun. You know the routine: you have one good point, you run with it, make a couple more up, the other person gets pissed off, things get all weird for a minute, someone pours another round of shots, and we laugh it off. Good times.


These town hall shindigs don’t sound too different, and I don’t think that’s a good thing. Circular arguments, death threats and assault is all well and good at a house party, but I’m getting three automated phone calls a day from the Accounts Receivable robot at Anthem, or Blue Cross, or whatever that company calls itself this week. The next time I stub my toe on the couch could be my last. You’re playing with our LIVES over here.


Obviously the concept of the town hall meeting is a good one. But only if everyone understands the specifics of what is being discussed. When you spend ten minutes cussing me out for only bringing you back eight hot wings from the spot around the corner when I actually brought you back twelve, well, that’s ten lost minutes that I’d probably want to take out on your face myself, if I wasn’t such a shitty fighter. Everyone has to be on the same page, or I might as well talk to my dog.


Speaking of pages, has anyone seen one page of this 1,000-page healthcare overhaul bill? I’ve googled it forwards. Backwards. In French. In Roman numerals. Nothing. I guess the bigwigs figured that since none of them have read even a quarter of it, nobody else would want to. And they’re probably right. We’d all love to save the world, but after reading 1,000 pages of political drivel we would need saving our damn selves. Psychiatric help is expensive, and I know my insurance didn’t cover that, even when it was active.


I think people should be quizzed at the door of these meetings to ensure that everyone taking part in the discussion has read some portion of the bill in question. Or, the first segment of each meeting should be devoted to explaining the bill. Or something. Anything that gives everyone in the room the information they need on the topic they came to discuss. Until then, these meetings will be a bunch of citizens and politicians arguing over a bill nobody has read. They look like great fun though. I’m a sucker for a good street fight. I just hope these people have health insurance.


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