Earlier today, Daniel and I went to a town hall meeting on health care held by our congressman, Mike Honda. We decided to go because we wanted to show visible support for health care reform with a public option, and because we figured it would be an interesting experience.
Well, it wasn't anything like the town halls we've all been seeing clips from on Youtube - which was probably a good thing. The venue didn't allow signs or placards. I'd say that a comfortable majority of the audience were in favor of health care reform with a public option (in fact, I think a large percentage of the audience were in favor of single payer health care), and the skeptics mostly had concerns about the effect that health care reform would have on the deficit and whether the government would be able to successfully contain costs. I'd say that the town hall format isn't really a terrific way to address complex public policy issues, but I left with a pretty positive feeling about the whole thing.
And then as we were driving home, we passed a public demonstration on the corner of Winchester and Stevens Creek, with people carrying pictures of Obama with a Hitler moustache, and signs comparing Nancy Pelosi to Stalin. Sigh. I don't really know whether to be relieved or sorry that these people were not at the town hall meeting. I don't think the discussion we had there would have reached them. I wish I knew what would reach them.