Trip report from single payer rally in Augusta, ME
I'm afraid I don't have a lineup of the speakers, but I'll try to get one; maybe we can do some live blogging with them. So, just a few quick points:
1. It was sunny! After two weeks of cold and rain, the sun was amazing and wonderful (and burn-inducing, since I owe my pasty white complexion to being at the keyboard all day and all night).
2. Jerry Call of South Thomaston, ME, one of the Baucus 8, spoke.
LaMarche: "Citizens don't need leaders. They need representatives!" Amen.
4. The average individual deductible is $6000 (Blue Cross, so there's an angle. But.) The average group deductible is $1400. So, if you're self-employed, you could be looking at getting insurance for the privilege of paying $6000 before they try to deny you care and throw you out of the plan if you get it.
5. The Raging Grannies are great! I had a nice talk with one and we agreed we were going back to our gardens.
Both (a) the Democratic county apparatus and (b) the Union locals are very strongly in favor of single payer. In both cases, it's the national leadership that's not listening and holding them back. Seems that lack of accountability and transparency are happening across the board, wherever you look. And people are looking. Also, (c) the Raging Grannies got their own OFA house party to come out for single payer, and the "young man" running it said that a lot of other house parties were doing the same. As one of the Grannies said: "If it's only an act, learn your lines and get on the stage!" I agree.
7. A rousing speech at the end by an old-time leftist (or so it seemed) against the oligarchy. Thing is, you've got former IMF chief economist Simon Johnson saying the country is an oligarchy too, so where's the "left" in that statement?
8. Several hundred people (a lot in a small state, some coming long distances). About 30 conservatives somewhere in a free speech zone somewhere; I suppose I should have gone to visit them, but I couldn't be bothered.
9. Lots and lots and lots of doctors speaking, some of them in positions of authority in the hospitals (big institutions in the State). Meaning that they were taking risks to speak. Impressive.
All in all, I found it very hopeful. No matter what the FKD manage to foist on us, if it's not single payer it's a guaranteed FAIL, and people won't stop working until success is achieved. The rally wasn't so much energized or rock stadium-like, but very focused, very good on the talking points, and in no mind to surrender to the injustice.
Oh, no Obama-
realismbashing (except from the leftie in the rousing speech). But absolutely zero expectations of him, too, except for a half-hearted "Help him do the right thing" plea from one speaker. We are definitely in "make him do it" territory, up here.