Since the loss of the supermajority, the Democrats are fired up and ready to pass healthcare reform. In the house where the Mayor of Minneapolis, RT Rybak, senator Al Franken, and representatives from the SEIU, Organizing America, churches and other pro health care reform organizations. The room was packed, standing room only, and the crowd spilled into the whole second floor of the Labor Center. Inside, the conversation was focused on numbers and results. In Minnesota 1 out of every 15 Caucasians, 1 in 6 African Americans, and 1 in 3 Hispanics are without healthcare. Outside, a meager dozen or so anti healthcare reform protesters stood on the corner.
The sense of urgency that fills the room is unmistakable. When Al Franken hits the stage, the crowd goes wild. He is poised, forceful, and passionate in his delivery. From his point of view, most of the protest against healthcare reform is due to misinformation generated by insurance companies and Republicans to infuse American’s with fear ( hear a clip of Al Franken’s speech here).
Outside, fear is on parade. One of the demonstrators, who alleged to be a member of the Teamsters 120 against healthcare reform, alleged that he was the victim of a hit and run attack. After hearing his disjointed and nonsensical arguments against health care reform, it is difficult to believe that claim. (listen to clip here). What most of the protesters are protesting against seems to be fear. A distinguished man with silver hair, says that he’s concerned they will take away his Medicare. Another says that American’s don’t deserve healthcare (Listen Here).
“Minnesota Nice” wears thin after a few questions. After digging further, it becomes apparent that the argument is against the president, not the policy. Before long, the word Obamacare gets used. Insinuations are made and emotions start to show( hear hysterical rant). It becomes clear that there is an underlying fear of the President, and a fear of change at work here. The objections become increasingly non-sensical, and it’s obvious that these individuals would not agree to any reform, on any level.
It is unfortunate that racisim and class warfare seem to dominate this discussion. Perhaps this would explain why there were so few protesters, and so many supporters at the rally