"Dear Media Friends," the email read. "The Wexler 'town hall' meeting is a sham. Tickets. Reserved seating. Written questions. In other words, NO DISSENT INSIDE.
"To speak to real, independent thinking citizens, be in the South County Civic Center Parking Lot at NOON."
The email was signed "Sid."
The Juice knew that "Sid" could mean only one thing -- it had to be the irrepressible Dinerstein, the guy forever urging us to "grow up!"
We're perennially Peter Pannish over here at the Juice, but we thought we'd mosey over to the Delray Town Hall Healthcare Forum this afternoon to speak to the real, independent-thinking citizens Dinerstein was so excited about. And also to see if anybody could explain the health-care bill to us, because we got tired around page 2,052 and stopped reading.
"It's still a democracy as far as we know," said the first lady we met, rooting around in her handbag. "As of this second. Although it won't be for very long." With this mysterious pronouncement, she drifted off into the throngs of folks who had lined up behind a picket fence at the Civic Center.
A high school band was playing
under a loggia. It felt like it had reached about a hundred degrees by noon.
"I'm here because I've paid taxes my whole life," said a guy named Joseph Carbone. "If they put this health-care plan through, all non-US citizens will be provided with free health care on my tax money."*
We ran into Dinerstein himself, who said, "We need tort reform. A jury will award somebody who spills a hot cup of coffee in their lap 80 million dollars. People who don't have health care? That's what nonprofits are for. Tell them to get help from charities. And young people have a choice; they can buy health care, but they just choose to spend their money on other things. I would object to this bill no matter how it was written. Where in the constitution do you find anything that says we should have government-funded health care?"**
"I'm sick of the government talling me what to do," said another lady. "Now they're telling me what kind of car I have to buy. They're telling me what kind of gas to put in it. They're taking old cars and crushing them into scrap metal and selling them to China! China! I have a 2001 Jeep, and where am I going to get parts for it if all the old cars have been crushed up? I'm fed up with being told what to do, and I'm not gonna take it any more."***
"Obama nation scares the hell out of me," said Carolyn O'Brian, sitting at a picnic table with her friend Ralph DiGiovanni. "We already spend 780 billion a year on health care for illegal immigrants. And I don't want to pay for anybody's abortion."****
"I don't think we should pass anything we don't understand," somebody chimed in.
"I want to pull the plug on Glenn Beck," another guy tells us.*****
"Did you bring your AARP cards?" Someone is shouting through a megaphone. "Get our your AARP cards. We're going to have a public burning."
Only one person we talked to admitted to not understanding the health-care bill: Cassandra, pictured left.
The kids in the band from Blanche Ely High School were getting ready to play again. One of the trumpet players said he had no idea why the band was there, and he wasn't sure if they were even going to be allowed in to hear the real forum discussion going on in the civic center.
But when the music started up, they looked like they were having a blast.
*The bill in its current form does not provide health care for illegal aliens. [SEC. 246. NO FEDERAL PAYMENT FOR UNDOCUMENTED ALIENS. Nothing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States.]
**Dinerstein is right. There's not a word, not a whisper, in the constitution about health care.
***There is nothing, at least not in the first 2,000-odd pages, in the health-care bill about what kinds of cars U.S. citizens will be allowed to drive.
****See above on illegal immigrants. The abortion question seems a bit murkier.
*****Nothing on Glenn Beck in the health-care bill either.