Standing in the Battle Line
Occasionally in political life you have one of those “ah-ha” moments. Late Monday afternoon at Towson University was such a moment for me – and Sen. Ben Cardin, too.
Monday was typical August weather for Baltimore: full sun, 95 degrees with 90 percent humidity. Certainly some child somewhere downtown was trying to fry an egg on the sidewalk. In Towson we were unloading the preparations for a peaceful demonstration opposing “Obamacare.”
Having talked with the officer in charge just hours before, and knowing the parameters of where the protest was allowed, we set up our camp. It was important to be in the right spot as others would be following our lead. Everyone felt the heavy, sticky weather, and no one wanted to be unnecessarily moved mid-protest.
At 4:30 P.M., the ratio of those against the healthcare package to those in favor was five to one. That ratio remained as the crowd built along the street to over 3,000 people. It was organized and boisterous. Chanting occasionally erupted; cars constantly passed honking horns and indicating support. Bull horns blasted away at will.
Those in support of the healthcare bill came to the dance with union sponsored tee shirts and signs pre-printed in union shops. Those opposed came to the party dressed as they were, with signs on cardboard boxes and poster board painted with markers and poster paints; they were homemade and from the heart.
By 6:45 P.M., while standing on the hillside surveying most of Towson’s Osler Drive, my moment struck me. I turned to one of my fellow organizers and said: “Man, this is great! Three thousand hot, sweaty people all standing up for what they believe and there are no problems…it is a great day in America.”
This entire event is all due to President Barack Obama and the sponsors of the healthcare bill – HR 3200. What were they thinking? Bill passage by utterly fooling the American citizenry by its complexity?
HR 3200 is about 1,100 pages thick. Printed out on letter size paper, it fills a five inch, three-ring binder to the brim. You could use it as an anchor for a small boat. Its magnitude and sheer volume is the reason few humans have read this document from cover to cover. This is also the reason why no one understands or can explain it.
Those who have struggled to write such an epistle must believe that the answer to such a complex issue as healthcare is a written form of filibuster. Washington’s Democrat politicos should have realized such a complicated bill would be guaranteed to have enough sections that everyone in America could disagree with at least one.
Instead President Obama and his henchmen have once again tried to ride the tide of unbridled popularity and have found that the tide is receding. They are witnessing an event that rarely occurs – citizen interest in public policy…nationwide!
The best example was happening in Towson, in the Democrat “blue” state of Maryland. Senator Cardin was about to have his moment of epiphany, too. The crowd was much bigger than anticipated. The questions were tough. “His” people were in the minority. Ah-ha, it must have been a little sweaty inside, too.
Senator Cardin, who is a good, honest man, in a valiant effort to carry President Obama’s “water,” held his own in listening and answering the people. Like all veteran politicians he knew it had to be a good show, just grit your teeth and it would soon be over. Everyone on planet earth knows that Maryland’s senators are locked down, sure, safe Democrat seats, so 90 minutes in the public is a small price to pay.
When the time comes, our Maryland senators will vote with President Obama no matter how big the protests, no matter how tough the questions, and no matter how many people call or write – because they can. They know the voters in Maryland will soon forget the heat of Towson once the cool voting weather of November comes around.
Just maybe, someday, voters will wake up and have their “ah-ha” moment, too.