Rally at the State House

Just got back from a candlelight vigil for health care at the State House. Organizers from Progressive Democrats of America estimated the crowd at over 200.

The three Town Hall meetings were exercises in facing hostile crowds but this rally was like coffee hour after church. A few counter-demonstrators tried to interrupt the speeches, but the moderator, Dave St.Germain, had a bullhorn and the antis were pretty much ignored. Dave kept things focused and paced the event so well that people stayed to talk afterward. He introduced speakers who shared a personal perspective on our health care system–

Hanna Watson, a medical student, had a patient who brought her small daughter to a gyn office visit. The woman had no general medical doctor, and she did not dare to go to the emergency room for a cardiac workup she desperately needed. They say you can always go to the emergency room, but the bill will soon follow, and the bill collectors are relentless.

Nancy St. Germain, (not related to Dave) who was introduced by Rep. Langevin at the Warwick Town Hall, shared her experience of losing her job and her home when she was hospitalized for brain cancer. She had good insurance–until she got sick. Her story shows how easy it is to lose all you’ve worked for when your benefits are tied to your job.

We broke up into small groups to share our stories. A full moon was rising, downtown was beautiful and the candles were flickering. I spoke with a pediatrician, a med student and a small business owner. There was a woman whose friends, in their fifties and too young for Medicare, could not get insurance. There was a man who was self-employed, could not get insurance, and ended up with a huge debt when he had an accident.

I was struck by the diversity of the group, in age, race and politics. Some held signs for single-payer, some for public option. All of us were there because we want to see every American get health care when they need it. In the greatest country in the world we shouldn’t settle for less.

One legislator who supports health insurance reform, and who knows more than most about survival–Jim Langevin, spoke at a rally at Women and Infants earlier today. Rhode Island’s Future covers the event.

ProJo.com covers both, and the comment section is active.


12 thoughts on “Rally at the State House

  1. I’ve seen Dave St.Germain testify at the State House on an immigration related issue.He sounded bizarre to say the least.I would have to say he didn’t know what he was talking about,making comparisons between enforcing the immigration laws and the Holocaust.It was sickening.He really doesn’t add credibility to your side of the issue.I’ve also seen him testify on other matters and heard his whole life story.He’s had his share of problems and more,but so have a lot of other people.
    I think your vigils will end up like those perennial ones at the war memorial and the downtown Federal building.No one pays attention. Too many folks have really pressing personal crises right about now.Some large percentage of which may be health care related,but this vigil won’t grab their attention.If it makes you feel like you’re doing something productive,that’s good for you,but in the end the politicins will hash this out with little interest in street level input.

  2. I’m glad they were able to control the message.
    Being between jobs, I don’t dare go to the doctor, if they find something, I’ll have the dreaded pre-existing condition.
    Sick system we have. We die, they profit.
    BTW, socialized medicine (the VA, medicare) have been paramount in my father’s survival!
    He served, he deserves to live!

    Joe, I’m dissapointed you haven’t visited my blog yet. I don’t even talk politics there.

  3. I am in favor of the public option for people in your situation,and those who just can’t afford premiums even though they are employed.It should have been presented in a separate bill and it would never have generated the opposition it has,maybe some,but not to this extent.

  4. Dave was much more credible than the small group that tried to interrupt the speakers and took a moment of silence as an opportunity to shout insults.
    What is unfortunate is that any rational person can see that we need universal health care, and good people can disagree on how to achieve that goal. The conservatives have allowed their cause to be hijacked by extremists using rumors and lies.

  5. Saying that Dave is more credible than a bunch of Larouchites or similar nitwits isn’t saying much.
    My opinion of Dave is based on watching him testify on more than one occasion.I don’t need comparisons to conclude that he is out to lunch.Why always the comparisons with you liberals?If one criticizes an Obama appointee,it seems like a string gets pulled and we hear about someone from the Bush administration.How about discussions of specific people,things,etc.without always throwing up some “equivalent”?
    There is a tendency for liberals to always try to make people justify their beliefss by screeching that “you sound like Limbaugh”or similar rank nonsense.From now on,if I sound like Limbaugh,who cares?Maybe he has more on the ball than I thought.It seems like these liberal complainers spend a lot of time listening to him.Why?

  6. Okay, I’ll get specific. The group of about a dozen specific people who were shouting at the vigil last night seemed to be anti-tax, from the look of their signs. I didn’t see any Larouchites, but it was dark, maybe they were there.
    The specific red-faced hollering man who sat behind me in Warwick did not impress me with his argument–volume doesn’t equal rightness.
    The specific guy who told me in Johnston that ‘these women have too many babies they can’t afford–they’re not entitled to health care.’ did not convert me to his anti-abortion views.
    I haven’t heard Dave try to stop anyone from speaking, or slander anyone either. You don’t have to agree with him but he has ideas and is willing to discuss them.

    1. This morning on Helen Glover a woman called in and stated she was told by “the man with the bullhorn”(Dave?)to leave the area because he had a permit for a rally.She refused.That sounds like intimidation.Dave is a huge guy and probably could intimidate some people.
      I can’t stand the Larouchites but people who don’t want their tax money squandered have a good point.I’d like to know how much tax Dave pays versus what he gets from the government.
      I get my retirement from the government,plus a very small Social security payment,and my VA disability payment.I do however pay a substantial amount of tax without whining.On time and in full,unlike some of those who would take issue with me.I don’t have any cute tax shelters.I demand a government that is accountable on how tax money is spent.And don’t bother with “Bush spent it in Iraq-I know that,thank you,and Obama isn’t fighting the Afghan war for the bubble either.
      I just flat out despise moveon.org and everything they stand for-this country is getting more polarized,and it’s not necessarily because of “right wingers”-this new manifesto Obama is trying to force on the country is at odds with our history and traditions.His helpers like Van Jones and Harold Koh are so far over the edge small wonder people are angry.Sotomayor was positively middle of the road cmpared to them.Harold Koh actually believes in adherence to unratified international treaties and the use of Sharia law in some circumstances here.I’d love to see how you feminists would respond to a medieval practice like that being imposed in any degree at all here.
      Van Jones literally speaks for himself-he is a man consumed with hate and an avowed communist.Nothing more to say there.One of the main reasons I dislike George Bush so much is that well-meaning people reacted to his lousy tenure by voting for this power hungry demagogue.

  7. Next time I see Dave I’ll tell him to try to be smaller.
    I think have a pretty good sense of medieval religious practices, having gone to Catholic school pre-Vatican II, and later attending Apponaug Pentecostal Church. The frantic blonde who was telling me about the Holy Spirit when she really wanted to slug me has given away her freedom, and her only consolation is to try to get everyone else to do the same.

  8. Dave can be big,small,who cares?He always seems to be obnoxious the times I’ve seen him-likes to call people names and accuse them of racism,etc.The whole routine is worn out and you are really all talking to yourselves with that stuff.
    If sharia law is ok with you to be used here,maybe you’d like the consequences-“honor killings” to begin with.Misogyny worthy of Ted Bundy,except with sharia law its not a psychopath-it’s codified.
    Do you even know who Harold Koh is?I’m sure Van Jones is no villain in your book.Harold is no better.I don’t think either of them should have any place in government,but then I didn’t vote for Obama.
    And Nancy-no one tried to behead you for leaving either the Catholic school or Pentecostal church,did they?
    Do you really think the country has to be remade?You might be all full of enthusiasm for it,but believe me,if the wrong type of government takes hold,your protest days will be over fast.
    Most “socialist”states eliminated the left wing activists and intellectuals pretty fast,because they are never content with the status quo.Then they settled into an oppressive tyranny worse than
    what had preceded them.

  9. I think our democracy can handle a national health care plan. I’m still trying to figure out the two people I heard in Warwick who said we are not a democracy, we are a constitutional republic. What was that about?
    Shariah law– I only know how it is applied to women– is patriarchal family values. Stoning for adultery is from the Old Testament.
    Margaret Atwood traveled through Afghanistan in the 70’s, and wrote The Handmaid’s Tale. Any oppressive religious dictatorship that emerges in the US will have a Christian brand.
    We are very fortunate that the secular element in our culture is able to stand up to the demands of religion. Nineteen innocent people were hanged in Salem in one year when Christians decided to ditch the normal legal process in a crisis.

    1. You seem incapable of seeing clearly when the target is a “politically correct” one.i.e.non-white or non-Christian.Women are stoned to death for adultery in Saudi Arabia,Iran,and other Islamic countries.Young women are murdered by their male relatives even in Western countries for “misbehavior”or marrying the wrong man.No problem with sharia law?It’s just a patriarchal tradition?How quaint.It might help if you allowed some fact into your emotional view of the world.You refuse to accept what is before your eyes.The Taliban didn’t really execute those women in a soccer stadium did they?It was all a Karl Rove production,wasn’t it?
      The fact is Salem took place long before we were independent or constitutional law existed.Small detail.
      We are in fact a constitutional republic rather than a direct democracy in the mold of Athens.
      There are no national referendums,with the sole exception of those conducted state by state as part of the constitutional amendment process.
      I think you would be reduced to tears if there were ever a national referendum on your precious cause of same sex marriage.The defeat would be overwhelming,unless most of the electorate were disenfranchised.
      I notice that with the exception of the ehalth care crisis,which has drawn a wider base,most of the people who attend protests are the same bunch,regardless of the cause,as long as it’s “progressive”.Anti-gun,justice for janitors,same sex marriage,peace,rights for illegal aliens masked as “immigrant”rights,etc ad nauseum.
      You “progressives”display incredible arrogance by thinking that grassroots movements belong only to the left.
      What do you think defeated the abominable attempt to have another amnesty for illegals a la 1986during the Bush administration?It was a right leaning grassroots movement which scared the slimy politicians who were trolling for votes by trying to give the country away to anyone who decided to meander in.
      I really get sick of the “racist”rant from your side of the fence when a blatant racist and self-described communist like Van Jones can get a powerful government appointment and not a peep from “progressives”.Maybe you sympathize with him.Don’t try explaining his racist garbage speech by referring to”context”-it won’t wash.I’m glad Obama is doing this.It will ensure that he is a one term President like Jimmy Carter.
      I guess protest is reserved for the “progressives” isn’t it?Democracy is a very relative term in your camp.
      Your hangup with Christianity is a personal problem but you want to extend it political issues.I’m not Christian and feel very little or nothing has held me back because of it.
      If you spent as much time using facts in your politiical arguments as you must have to do in your job as a nurse,you’d make more sense.Right now,your vision comes across as doctrinaire and narrow.

  10. NN:

    We can not allow the health reform effort to be hijacked or derailed by right-wing fringe screamers. They’ve already taken over the GOP; that should be the limit of their damage.

    And you are correct: This group of people would rather push their twisted version of religion than rationally consider the issue at hand.

    As I’ve said previously: there are 45 million uninsured people in the US — so far, the only plan is the one proposed by Pres. Obama. The right-wingers have no counter-proposal, no ideas, and no other strategy than to say ‘No.’

    In the next few weeks, the work of drafting a bill and getting it passed will be done — with our without the Republicans.

    And when the law is passed with Susan Collins being the one GOP vote, it’ll be a matter of months before health reform starts to work and the right wing’s hyperventilation becomes a thing of the past.

    Of course, they’ll cry and whine that the Dems “rammed through” the law and weren’t “bipartisan” enough. But in reality, they were doomed by:
    1. Claiming that Pres. Obama would go beyond the language of the draft legislation — wonder where they got the idea that a President would just do whatever he wants, no matter what the law is?
    2. Raising the false specters of “death panels” and “cuts to care for seniors” — why should facts get in the way?
    3. Calling for a “do-over” after weeks of this shameless behavior — only so they can do it all over again?

    Back to your point: Religious beliefs that exclude vulnerable citizens, compare the President with Hitler, and attempt to identify “real” Americans have no place in the political sphere.

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