Health Care Reform Town Hall Advice
The Dog has been talking to some of his friends in the thick of the fight for health care reform. We are doing a moderately good job of calling and e-mailing and faxing Reps and Senators, but now with the August recess about to be in full swing there is more we need to do. We have seen the Astroturf forces from the Insurance and Health Care lobbies working to disrupt Town Hall meetings, which show our next area where we need to put in some time.
"Originally posted at Squarestate.net"
Since we are all planning to talk to our Representatives and Senators this August, wait, you are planning to get out there and let your voice be heard directly right? Right? If you have not thought about doing so now is the time. This is the time to put the “Act” in Activist. We need everyone one and their brother who cares about this issue to get out there and participate in every possible meet and greet venue your politicians are going to have over the next month! You know the forces who want to kill reform are going to be there, are you going to let them have it all there way? The Dog did not think so!
Now that we have that settled the Dog is going to help you out in terms of being as effective as possible at these meetings. Town Halls are more than just the meeting themselves, if we don’t push our agenda, report the results and most importantly show the other side for the anti-democratic, anti-citizen corporate funded shills they are, then we are not really achieving anything. As with everything in life there are ways to optimize your participation in a Town Hall, below are some suggestions which will help your activism be most effective.
Know when the Town Hall is happening, then get as many people as you can to come. The bigger the pro-reform crowd in attendance, the better! Be sure to wear similar clothes and ideally buttons or tee-shirts that have slogans supporting the cause. The Dog likes “Without a Public Option There Is No Real Competition” but you can do whatever you think is best.
Think about your question in advance. It is best to write it out and practice it. The less ums, errs and pauses you have the more impact your question will have. This is a performance so be ready to give your best. Below are some questions you can ask to have a positive impact:
Tell your personal health care story. Ask how health care reform will help improve your life.
What is the biggest lie you (the Rep) has heard about reform and what will reform actually do for all citizens?
Do you think Members of Congress who vote against the public insurance option should give up their taxpayer funded health care?
My health insurance company denied an exam/procedure/test I needed. What is in the legislation to prevent corporations from rationing health care?
At the Town Hall:
Be polite and courteous. We know the anti-reform forces are going to make asses of themselves by being loud and disruptive. Don’t rise to the bait by doing the same. We want the impression of the pro-reform folks (you know, most of the nation) to be one of sane, earnest concern and attention. This will make the antics of the anti-reformers look that much worse.
Get there as early as you can, and hook up with other like minded folks to sit in the front. This will give the correct impression that the majority of people want and need reform, and, again, make the anti’s look like the back of the room fringe they actually are.
Make a point of seeking out any press there. The press want to know how the crowd reacted to what their Rep or Senator said, so be ready to give them a short talk about your need for reform, why you support reform and something you learned there. The best thing to talk about learning (even if you knew it going in) is the fact the public option did not mean you had to give up insurance you liked, even though you don’t like yours.
Bring a video camera if you can! If there is a mike set up (instead of one passed around) focus on the mike so you can get the folks asking questions. If there is a ruckus by the Anti’s be sure to capture it in all its insane glory. We want and need to show what they are doing, as the more people see these asshats the more they don’t want to be like them or associated with their antics.
Don’t engage the Anti’s. It is not worth it, they are not going to accept anything you say, they are not there for discussion, they are there to suppress democracy. Engaging them does nothing for our cause and helps expand their disruption. Don’t play in their frame!
After the Event:
The follow up is important! If you got video which helps our cause share it with DFA or SEIU or any of the groups working for reform. The same goes if you have choice insanity of the Anti’s on film.
Write Letters to the Editors of your local paper. They are going to be covering the event and the craziness, a well worded letter is likely to get published along with the story. Hit the same points you made to the reporters and be sure to point out the tactics of the Anti’s and why it is bad for democracy.
Now that you have all the how to’s it is up to you Citizen! If you truly care about this issue (and who among us does not?) then this is your time to shine! Get out there and find out where you can see your Representative and both Senators, even if they are Republicans and are going to vote no. Let your voice be heard and heard loudly! This is exactly what the Framers wanted us to do, all you have to do is act!
The floor is yours.