Saturday, August 15, 2009

When is a Democrat not a Democrat...

...when I'm not hearing better ideas from the Democrat than from the rightwing nut jobs. Let's go back, I believe it was two days ago, when I first got news there would be a town hall in Rogers. I was nervous and excited. A town hall a few miles from my house at something called the Samaritan Community Center with Blanche Lincoln speaking. I clicked the RSVP button in the email from Organizing for America, then printed out the signs from the link sent in response to my RSVP. We were ready. My husband, my seven-year-old son and I would exercise our right to democracy by attending (as calm as we could manage) a town hall meeting that might provide all sorts of entertainment.

Suddenly, this morning (or late last night)I find out through a series of sources that the town hall had been moved to a park in Bella Vista (15 miles north of our town) and that it was no longer a town hall meeting but a local Democratic party fundraiser. A little more research and I find out it was NEVER a town hall meeting, always a fundraiser ($5 to get in have beverage and watermelon or $10 for BBQ dinner) and now I'm thinking how pissy the Repubs will be that they thought they would get to yell things about death panels and plugs being pulled and socialism.

So, we wouldn't really get to face down any screechy GOP haters and we'd have to pay for the privilege of hanging with the tiny community of Dems we have here in red, red, red land.

But we (well I on behalf of the three of us) decided we would go anyway. We don't want to eat at 5 (we're not 75 years old) so we'd go with the cheaper $5 option, happy to get some cups of ice and tea, politely declining the watermelon. We drive to this park we've never seen nor heard of, find it pretty easily and at first think we have to park along the road as it seems crowded already. We park next to some old people who had just arrived also and schlep our folding chairs down the road toward what we've been told is a stop to buy the tickets. Along the way there are many (relatively) of the nutjobs waving their signs that speak of socialism, dead grandmothers, we don't want change, etc. They smile as they waggle their signs, we sort of glare at them or don't make eye contact. When they speak to us, I say "No thank you. We don't actually agree with you." They smile like we are sooooo deluded. One of them has the temerity to say "We'll take care of your child for you." As if, because we oppose their lunacy, we are poor examples of parents. My child looked afraid and shook his fist at them. He is probably more left than I. He is whispering to me how stupid their posters are.

We get to the ticket tent that boasts two older ladies selling the tickets and three Bella Vista policeman ready for trouble. We buy our tickets and learn that there is actually more parking further on past the ticket tent near the picnic (that's how they referred to the whole fundraiser, THE PICNIC, like that would make it as benign as possible and hope to just lame the protesters away.) My lovely (not said sarcastically, but gratefully) husband volunteered to go get the car. So Fletcher and I stood by the ticket tent, three folding chairs at our feet and waited for Joe to show up with the car.

When he arrived, he said he wasn't harassed much but felt like punching some of the more sanctimonious of the birther/deather/nutsquad. We happily drove on to the shady, quite pretty area where the fundraiser/picnic/gathering of the hearty Dems were. We wandered over, seeing a few people we knew or at least knew by sight from other aspects of our lives - the CNN iReporter I know from Twitter, the lady who works at Barnes & Noble, the guy I volunteered with at the local Dem HQ during the campaign, a woman I know from a group.

The crowd wasn't huge, but these are the Dems who will not only identify themselves as such, but are willing to drive to a place, be with other Dems, etc. That really shakes out the wheat and what we are left with are mostly older citizens of our area. We see a few in our age group, not many children have been forced to come, everyone sits in their folding chairs or at the cement picnic tables. Democratic chairmen from the county, the state (or somewhere, couldn't hear) and some guy who apparently has some film industry contacts and gets us movies before first-run to use as fundraisers, next one in October.

Then Blanche Lincoln speaks. She is relatively eloquent. Sort of sticks to the bromides and the usual. She takes a few questions after. The last is someone who asks, rather passionately, for Lincoln to promise to not vote for a bill that doesn't include a robust public option. We end up getting a lecture on how we shouldn't want a public option that is completely government supported as it will cost TOO much money and we should like co-ops, etc. I'm getting more and more cranky at the thought of supporting this woman for another term and wondering who might be running against her in the primaries. I'm not the only one. I hear grumbling and see people packing up their chairs. As a group (save one or two who probably couldn't hear) we have heard enough and we ARE GOING.

Course my husband pointed out that even if we supported someone more liberal in the primaries, they probably wouldn't stand a chance in the election against a semi-reasonable Republican cause this state is so red it looks like it will have a stroke and the best we can hope for are blue dogs. Ick. I'm disillusioned and undermined and we still have to drive past the douchebag parade.

We do drive past them as they wave their pitiful signs that say illogical things, cutting their noses off to spite their stupid faces things, or just hateful nonsense. It only takes a few minutes to drive back to the highway and head home to get the coupon to Outback Steakhouse where we've decided to have our dinner.

I'm glad we went so I didn't think I missed something, but now feel more resolved than ever to get real liberal leadership in this state.

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