"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.